Health Ministry replies Minority on Ridge Hospital Project

BY: Isaac Yeboah

The Ministry of Health (MOH) says the cost of the Ridge Hospital Project is U$250 million and not U$306 million as claimed by the Minority in Parliament.

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In a 10-point press release issued Wednesday signed by the Minister, the MOH said the project has received the required approval from Cabinet Parliament.

It said the Finance Committee of Parliament approved the project submitted by Ministry of Health, and subsequently submitted it to the floor of Parliament for further deliberation and subsequent approval by the house.

“Parliament at its 57th Sitting held on Thursday, 16th August, 2012 approved a loan agreement of $250 million for the Ridge Hospital Project. The approvals of the loan of U$250million and construction of the Hospital to commence were communicated in two separate letters from parliament to the Ministry of Health on 17th August, 2012.”

The Minority in Parliament last week alleged that the contract lacked transparency and needed to be sent back to Parliament for scrutiny to avoid suspected malfeasance.

Led by Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the group had alleged the state could be short-changed if the contract was executed without the necessary due diligence.

However the Ministry said that position cannot be the truth, pointing out also that the “project is not Refurbishment but a new and purpose-built hospital.

“The Ministry wishes to comment that the money approved is not paid upfront to the contractor. Payment is based on certificate of work done. This will be submitted to Ministry of Health for verification of figures and later to Ministry of Finance for additional verification and approval for payment.

“In the cause of the project with prudent management and monitoring any savings made will NOT remain with the contractor but stays with the Bank giving the loan.”

Below is the full statement issued by the Ministry of Health

 


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Ministry of Health Response To Minority On Ridge Hospital Project

The Ministry of Health wishes to inform the general public that the Ridge Hospital Project is Two Hundred and Fifty Million US dollars (U$ 250. 00 Million) and NOT Three Hundred and Six Million US dollars (U$306. 00 Million) as claimed by the Minority in Parliament.

The Ministry also wishes to comment as follows:

1. The re-construction of Ridge hospital is in line with Government of Ghana's quest to provide every Region in Ghana with secondary level referral Regional Hospital.

2. Messrs Bouygues Batiment International (BBI) submitted a proposal for the major Rehabilitation and Upgrade of Ridge Hospital to Greater Accra Regional Hospital through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on 7th June, 2011.

3. A stakeholder meeting was subsequently held of which Parliamentary Select Committee on Health was present to discuss the proposed design by BBI on 1st September, 2011. Parliament Select Committee has a membership of both Majority and Minority members of Parliament. And have been part of the process of negotiation from the beginning.

Following this a cabinet approval was given on 2nd August,
2012.

4. a. The Cabinet approval was forwarded for Parliamentary considerations.

b.    The Finance Committee of parliament approved the project, submitted by Ministry of Health. And submitted it to the floor of Parliament for further deliberation and subsequent approval by the house.

c. Parliament at its 57th Sitting held on Thursday, 16th August, 2012 approved a loan agreement of $250 million for the Ridge Hospital Project. The approvals of the loan of U$250million and construction of the Hospital to commence were communicated in two separate letters from parliament to the Ministry of Health on 17th August, 2012.

5. The Ministry of Health after reviewing all the designs and the proposed contract documents submitted by the Contractor, officially forwarded the documents including the designs to Ministry of Finance for Value-for-Money (VFM) assessment and negotiations on the loan on 15th December, 2012.

6. Crown Agents released their first report on the Value for Money Assessment in July, 2013. The report largely requested for some clarifications to which MOH and the Contractor responded. The final Report was then released on 15th September 2013, A government team comprising of Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health, moderated by Crown Agents on 30th September, 2013 to discuss the report submitted by Crown Agents and to agree on points for negotiations with the Contractors.

7. Subsequent negotiation meetings were held between 2nd -14th October, 2013 to which the Ministry of Finance officially wrote to the Ministry of Health on 15th November, 2013 on advice from Crown Agents Ghana indicating a successful conclusion of the VFM exercise.

8. The Ministry of Health subsequently prepared a parliamentary memo to Parliament requesting their approval on the Commercial Contract in accordance with Article 181(5) of Ghana Constitution. The commercial contract was then laid before Parliament Select Committee on Health, comprising of majority and minority; the Committee having approved the Commercial contract submitted it to the floor of parliament for consideration.

9. Parliament communicated to the Ministry the approved Commercial Contract between the Government of Ghana and BBI for the Turnkey Construction of the Major Upgrade and Rehabilitation of Ridge Hospital March on 11th, 2014.

10. Attached is a copy of the Parliamentary approval.

It must also be indicated that the project is not Refurbishment but a new and purpose-built hospital.

The Ministry wishes to comment that the money approved is not paid upfront to the contractor. Payment is based on certificate of work done. This will be submitted to Ministry of Health for verification of figures and later to Ministry of Finance for additional verification and approval for payment.

In the cause of the project with prudent management and monitoring any savings made will NOT remain with the contractor but stays with the Bank giving the loan. Click to read Parliament's communication on the matter.