A former Health Minister under the John Mahama-led government has described as unfair, claims by the Vice-President that a 60 to 80-bed district hospital was built at a whopping cost of $25 million, an amount that could have been used in building six similar hospitals.
Alex Segbefia said without providing details of contracts that led to the construction of the hospitals, it was out of place for Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to suggest the price of a hospital had been inflated in comparison to another.
He was reacting to comments made by the Vice-President during a procurement conference in Accra.
“The country is currently spending $25 million to construct 60 to 80-bed district hospitals at a time when the African Development Bank is constructing 150-bed capacity hospitals in Accra at only $1.3 million,” Dr Mahamudu Bawumia revealed.
Even more distressing, he added, was the fact that these hospitals are yet to be equipped and most of the equipment will be procured without the necessary taxes, which is a loss to the state.
“The $25 million figure [which the previous government spent on building a district hospital] does not include the tax exemptions that we are giving for bringing in equipment for these hospitals. That is an additional cost to the budget,” he stated.
“When you look at these numbers, what we are saying is that for one hospital, we are building at $25million, we could have built six hospitals in Ghana.
“If Dangote can build a 1,000-bed-capacity hospital for under $20 million, it begs the question why Ghana builds an even smaller 400-bed hospital for nearly $30 million.”
But Mr Segbefia is not impressed by the comment, accusing the Vice-President of comparing apples and oranges.
“Without looking at the contract which he is referring to in the ADB to decide what was going into that hospital and then looking at the contract that we have signed as a government, how do you make a genuine and fair comparison of what you are actually paying for?” he asked.
He said politicians are particularly fond of making hasty comparisons without looking at the details.
In any case, he added that the sum for the construction of the district hospitals had gone to Parliament and was approved by the house, which had the representation of all political parties.
He did not understand why the Vice-President will now be criticising the cost of the project, which NPP MPs had considered and approved.