Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Facility between the Government of Ghana and the Government of Austria through Unicredit Bank AG (Bank Austria Creditanstalt AG) for an amount of €7,980,000.00 for the construction and equipping of 5 polyclinics in the Upper West Region.
The Loan Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Government of Austria through Unicredit Bank Austria AG (Bank Austria Creditanstalt AG) for an amount of €7,980,000.00 for the construction and equipping of 5 polyclinics in the Upper West Region was laid in the House on Thursday, 21st October, 2010 and referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with article 181 of the Constitution and Order 171(1) of the Standing Orders of the House.
The Committee met and considered the Agreement with the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Hon Dr Kwabena Duffuor and his two deputies Hon Seth Terkpeh and Hon Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, the Minister for Health, Hon Dr Benjamin Kunbuor and officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Ministry of Health, as well as the Ghana Revenue Authority and hereby present this Report to the House in accordance with Order 161(1) of the Standing Orders of the House.
Ghana has been experiencing steady improvement in the health of her people since independence. However, in the last ten years, health status indicators such as maternal health, child health, nutrition, clinical services, public health and reproductive health services have all been plateauing. Non-communicable diseases and road traffic accidents are also becoming major causes of morbidity and mortality in the country.
One of the cardinal areas of emphasis in Government's 5-year programme of work focuses on increasing access to healthcare. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is helping to enhance access to health services for all citizens, especially the poor and vulnerable. The Scheme has helped to increase out-patient cases and hospital admission rates nationwide.
The first phase of the project was implemented in the Northern Region and has been completed and handed over. This second phase is to be implemented in the Upper West Region where physical access to healthcare poses a great challenge. This has led to a situation where patients have to travel long distances to access healthcare. Government's policy on free antenatal and delivery services is also expected to put additional strain on the few healthcare facilities available in the region. This project is, therefore, being undertaken to construct and equip 5 polyclinics in the Upper West Region with the view to helping achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on health.
3.0 Purpose of the Loan
The purpose of the loan is to obtain funds for the construction and equipping of five polyclinics in the Upper West Region of Ghana, as well as the provision of training of medical staff and other medical technicians/engineers of the
Ghana Health Service/Ministry of Health.
4.0 Terms of the Loan
The terms of the loan are as follows:
Loan amount -- €7,980,000.00
Grace period -- 4 years
Repayment period -- 12.5 years
Maturity period -- 16.5 years
Interest rate -- 0.40per cent per annum Commitment fee -- 0.25per cent per annum
Management fee -- 0.50per cent
Grant element -- 41.57per cent
The Committee was informed that under the facility, five polyclinics would be built and equipped at Babile/Birifo, Funsi, Ko, Lambussie and Wechiau, all in the Upper West Region.
It was observed that the project would help enhance physical access to healthcare in the Upper West Region which is one of the most deprived regions in the country.
The Committee observed that in accordance with article 5.2 of the Agreement, the Government of Ghana is given the right, subject to the approval of the Austrian Export Credit Agency (OeKB), to prepay the whole or any part of the loan upon giving at least, thirty calendar days' prior notice of the proposed prepayment to the Lender.
All disputes arising in connection with the Agreement shall be settled under the Rules of Conciliation and Arbitration then prevailing of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris by three arbitrators.
The Committee was further informed that the facilities to be provided under the project would significantly strenghthen the following key interventions aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goal 4:
High impact, rapid delivery programme.
Nutrition, including breastfeeding and complementary feeding.
E x p a n d e d p r o g r a m m e o f Immunization (EPI).
I n t e g r a t e d M a n a g e m e n t o f Childhood Illness (IMCI), which involves the management of severely sick children and antibiotics for diarrhoea and enteric fevers at the clinical level.
As to who the contractors for the project were, the Committee was informed that the project would be executed by Messrs VAMED Engineering GmbH and Co KG of Austria.
Major components of the project include civil works, covering construction of consulting rooms, injection and dressing rooms, laboratories, dispensary, patient care area, office/administration and housing project, involving the construction of 1 number 2 semi-detached bedroom units for each of the five polyclinics. Other components include the installation of medical equipment and the provision of training for medical staff and medical technicians/engineers.
The Committee noted that the project is expected to generate about one hundred and fifty (150) direct jobs (both skilled and unskilled) for the people of the project area.
As to how long it would take to complete the project, the Committee was informed that the project (all civil works, installation of equipment and training) would be implemented within two years of commencement.