Provincial funds slashed

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THE Government has cut the annual allocations to provinces by K200 million to boost funding for national health programmes, says National Planning and Monitoring Minister Rainbo Paita.
Health received K2.5 billion in the national budget announced yesterday, including K15mil allocated for the nurses’ awards which was the subject of their recent sit-in protest.
The K2.5bil comes out of the K8.7bil Public Investment Programme funding.
“Papua New Guinea has health issues and the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has exposed the level of health systems and infrastructure in the country,” Paita said.
The K2.5bil will pay for:

  • MEDICAL supplies procurement and distribution (K200mil);
  • HEALTH function grants (K109.58mil);
  •  PROVINCIAL Health Authorities (K132.36mil);
  • VACCINES (K10mil);
  • FEE-free health care (K10mil); and,
  • NURSES awards (K15mil).

Paita said because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was agreed that 20 per cent of the K10mil allocated for the Provincial Improvement Programme (PSIP) and District Improvement Programme (DSIP) annually would be cut so that K220mil could go to hospitals, including the 10 to be built.
“MPs allowed us to cut the PSIP and DSIP and we are reinvesting that fund into the major programmes in terms of health and district hospitals,” he said.
“We are trying to build at least four, five major provincial hospitals.
“We are looking at reestablishing level four hospitals.”
The provincial hospitals will be in Bougainville, Mendi in Southern Highlands, Tari in Hela and Talasia or West New Britain.

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