Health fund created to respond to emergencies

Solomon Islands National Parliament
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A PUBLIC Health Emergency Fund is created to response to emergencies and circumstances that threaten health.

This is inserted in Section 61 of the Public Health Emergency Bill 2021, that is before the Bills and Legislative Committee in Parliament.

Ministry of Finance and Treasury permanent secretary, Dentana Mckinnie, who appeared with the Oversight Committee before BLC yesterday, said the money from the Fund will be spent in line with Public Finance and Management Act (PFMA).

Mckinnie said the Committee will work closely with other agencies that form the operation of the Act to come up with a Regulation to guide the special fund.

He said last year was very costly for the government as it expended $192 million re-allocated under the 2020 Budget.

Furthermore, PS Mckinnie said about $173 million was donor funding used during the covid-19 operation.

According to the Bill, the Accountant General, appointed under section 10 of the Public Financial Management Act 2013, in consultation with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry responsible for health, is responsible for operating the Fund.

The Fund must be operated in the same manner as if it were a Special Fund referred to in section 24 of the Financial Management Act 2013.

Chairman of BLC, Mathew Wale said it is good there is a Special Fund in the Bill so that money can be used wisely for right purposes only.

He alleged that during the tsunami in Western province in the past, some people have mis-used the money of the government in the name of the disaster.

The objectives of the bill are to provide suitable and urgent responses to public health emergencies and circumstances that threatens the health of the persons and communities of Solomon Islands.

The bill aims to enable a range of operational capabilities and activities that will be able to quickly respond to such emergencies and circumstances and prevent, mitigate, eliminate the contamination, disease or other occurrence causing the emergencies and circumstances, and recover from them.

Hearing of the Bill continues on Tuesday next week.