Minority wants government intervention to settle hospitals’ indebtedness to ECG

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The Minority in Parliament has asked the government to intervene to settle the debt owed the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) by hospitals across the country.

This comes after ECG issued a demand notice to some hospitals nationwide including the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to settle their debts for power consumed or be disconnected from the national grid.

Speaking in Parliament on March 15, the Minority Spokesperson on the Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh argued that any disconnection would be disastrous and called on the government to intervene.

“These demand notices are not only threats to these facilities or their management but threats to the general public or patients who may suffer needlessly due to the disconnection of these facilities from the national grid.”

Mr Akandoh stated that the health service provision is a social good ad that government must ensure that the maintenance of health services is not threatened.

He said since 2017, government subvention to health facilities has been dwindling with more goods and services funded mainly from IGF, adding that “These demands on internally generated funds are now choking facilities of their ability to settle obligations to utilities and other service providers”.

He added that the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital for instance budgeted to spend GH₵3 million on electricity bills in the year 2023 but by September of 2023, it had already spent GH₵23.859 million on electricity bills.

According to the Minority Spokesperson on the Health, the government should audit the inflows of Internally Generated Funds at these institutions to determine if they are sufficient enough to cover the rising cost of utilities.

He added that the government must decide whether its policy on not paying electricity and water bills for health facilities is appropriate.

“They should put in all necessary steps, including all options listed above to ensure that no health facility is disconnected from the national grid during this revenue recovery exercise by the ECG. The minority is also of the opinion that the government should find reliable funding mechanisms other than the IGF of health facilities to cover these important expenditure line items.”

Mr Akandoh stated that the government should consider using the National Health Insurance fund to pay some of the utility bills of health facilities to ensure that the service is not curtailed.

He added that the constitution guarantees Ghanaians the right to access healthcare and this must not be denied.

“As minority in Parliament, we promise to keep government on its toes to deliver the constitutional mandate on which it was elected.”

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