AN opposition legislator has demanded that Health minister, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga must explain why his ministry was failing to pay medical suppliers to hospitals when the health sector is facing acute shortages of medical sundries.
Harare North MP Allan Norman Markham raised this in the National Assembly last Thursday as a matter of national interest.
“We have been told that only 14% of the national budget for this year had been drawn down by the end of May. However, Finance minister (Mthuli Ncube) has categorically told us that he has paid every request expeditiously, which means that the Health ministry has only requested for money that they have duly received,” Markham said.
“That concerns me because I have been inundated will calls from medical suppliers in the health industry that are telling me that since October 2021 central hospitals have not been paid. Some of the hospitals are owed US$200 000. This is a major issue when it comes to the cash flow for the supplies, but as of this year, they are claiming that 200 of their suppliers have not received any payment yet.”
Markham said only a fifth of the $117,7 billion 2022 health budget had been disbursed to Chiwenga’s ministry, which means that the ministry was not requesting for funds from Ncube.
“It is a major issue because when a supplier supplies to a government organisation, they have to go through tender procedures, and there are clauses which they have to fulfil – one of them being that you only get paid 90 days after you have supplied. If they have supplied and have not been paid for more than 120 days, they encounter serious cash flow problems,” Markham said.