K900 million loan for Health sector

The state is close to finalizing a K900 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to fund health sector development programmes.

This was revealed by Secretary for Treasury, Dairi Vele yesterday in Port Moresby during the National Parliament Induction Programme.

Vele announced this when questioned by East Sepik Governor, Allan Bird, why over the last five years there was a significant increase in borrowing while many hospitals were not upgraded.

Bird questioned this after Vele said in his presentation to members of Parliament that health was one of the priority areas justifying the borrowing.

“My question is where were those borrowings expanded? Bird asked.

“You mentioned hospitals (but) not one single hospital was actually upgraded in the last five years,

“I know that there are some community aid posts being built under ADB funding, but those aren’t completed yet.

“So can you explain for our benefit, if we are the ones going to be making the decision on any additional borrowings which might be coming in the supplementary, then it might benefit us to actually know where all those additional funds where spent and if they were spent, were they spent on productive investments or unproductive investments.”

Secretary Vele said that during the last five years a bulk of the funding went towards several major events which the country hosted, such as the Melanesian Festival of Arts, the Pacific Games, and the National Elections.

He admitted that implementation is a big problem which needed addressing adding that the ADB loan will be managed well and not tied to conditions as previous loans.

“We’re in the final stages of announcing a $300 million facility with the ADB specifically for Health which is tied to a reform program.

“In this way the government in Waigani manages the funds going out to everybody out there,” he said.

Cedric Patjole