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CAG questions spending of Sh10 billion in health sector

Wednesday April 14 2021
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By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Charles Kichere has expressed doubts about expenditure of Sh10 billion in the health care sector which he said needed reforms in its control system for public fund spending.

In the performance report for the financial year 2019/2020, Mr Kichere highlighted a number shortcomings that raised questions as far as the accounting of the money was concerned.

The report shows that Sh5.34 billion was used by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children to pay for the purchase of equipment and assets but these had not been delivered. “The agreement stipulated that the purchase had to be completed within two weeks to three months but bidders failed to meet the contract’s requirements,” the report states.

According to him, some of the assets that were paid for but not delivered include nine vehicles worth Sh1 billion purchased through Government Procurement Services Agency (GPSA), and medical equipment worth Sh4.25 billion.

He said that the CAG office also noticed that there was a Sh4.46 billion in loss resulting from a rejection of insurance claims by the National Health Insurance Fund.

Mr Kichere said this was attributed to the errors in filling out patient information as well as non-compliance with procedures such as invalid consent, medical guidelines, non-disclosure of diagnostic tests, and inclusion of services that were not in the fund.

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The report revealed that the Health ministry also has one of the most unnecessary and unproductive spending whereas Sh451.15 million was charged during the year as fines for delayed clearance of 50 ambulances and 50 motorbikes from the port. “Without having an effective control system for spending, the government will continue to incur losses from expenditures that could have been avoided,” the report states.

CAG could not also verify the legitimacy of payments worth Sh95.69 million because of lack of payment receipts. Moreover, there was no approval signatory for payment receipts valued at Sh42 million. In addition, Mr Kichere voiced that 333 out of 447 equivalent to 74 percent of constructed healthcare facilities in all phases (I-VII) including district hospitals, were not completed within the planned time throughout the country.

“Analysis showed that 67 out of 68 of constructed district hospitals, which is equivalent to 99 percent, delayed in completion. The extent of delays in completion of constructed healthcare facilities ranged from 12 to 40 months,” he said.

Among other things, the delay was caused by late funds disbursement, supply of materials from the factories or suppliers, diseases, and also the time allocated for some of the projects implementation was unrealistic as it did not take into consideration the aspect of mobilization time and curing time for some stages of construction.

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