The health sector has been allocated Nu 10.5 billion (B) for the fiscal year 2022-2023, accounting for 12.9 percent of the entire budget allocation.
Finance Minister Namgay Tshering stated this in the National Assembly yesterday when presenting the budget report for the fiscal year 2022-2023.
The budget includes Nu 4B for the Ministry of Health, of which Nu 538.124 million (M) is for Covid-19 containment measures, according to him.
“This includes Nu 432.570 million for Covid-19 vaccines, Nu 73 million for Covid-19 test kits, Nu 32.554 million for flu clinics, and Nu 32.554 million for ventilators,” Lyonpo Namgay Tshering added. “Nu 301M is also for healthcare equipment acquisition and maintenance.”
He also informed the house that Nu 160.631 million is set aside to begin the construction of a 60-bed Pema Centre, a mental health and wellbeing hospital, Nu 67.923 million for Constant Medical Learning, and Nu 63.500 million for the rebuilding of 4 satellite clinics in Motithang, Babena, Simtokha, and Debsi.
According to the minister, Nu 340 million will be spent on the construction of a 150-bed Gyaltsuen Jetsuen Pema Mother and Child Hospital, Nu 232.890 million on a 65-bed Mother and Child Hospital in Mongar, and Nu 62.216 million on ancillary works for the National Centre for Infectious Disease at Gidakom.
According to the budget report, the sector comprises a Nu 238.240 million Health Flagship Program for diagnostic and healing methods, Nu 84.500 million for the acquisition of a Cardiac Catheterization Workroom, and Nu 79 million for equipment procurement at the JDWNRH.
The government has also set aside Nu 1 billion for Covid-19 containment costs and Nu 432.570 million for vaccine procurement.
It also set aside Nu 1.6 billion for the development of quarantine facilities at Dhamdum, Samtse, Amochhu, Phuentsholing, Sarpang, and Samdrupjongkhar.
The entire funding allocated to support Covid-19-related operations in the fiscal year 2021-2022 is Nu 3.3 billion.
According to the minister, Nu 2 billion was set aside in the General Reserve for the containment and management of the Covid–19 pandemic, Nu 1.1 billion was received as a result of generous support from development partners such as the Indian government, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF, the European Union (EU), and the SDF, and Nu 133.834 million was met through technical adjustments within the overall approved budget.
He claimed that the total cost of containing and managing Covid-19 since the 2019-20 fiscal year is Nu 8.1 billion, with Nu 1.2 billion coming from grants and Nu 710.513 million coming from loans.
Lyonpo Namgay Tshering also stated that the Covid-19 Response Reserve (Foreign Currency Account and Ngultrum Account) was established on March 9, 2020 to receive voluntary contributions from development partners, individuals, corporations, agencies, institutions, and civil society organisations (CSOs) from both within and outside the country for pandemic management.
He stated that the entire amount received in the Ngultrum Account as of March 31, 2022 was Nu 151.268 million, of which Nu 120 million was spent on Covid-19 test kits in the fiscal year 2020-21. “The entire amount received in the Foreign Currency Account was USD 26,300.83, and no expenditures from this account have been made to far.”
He further stated that as of March 31, 2022, the fund balance was Nu 31.268 million in the Ngultrum account and USD 26,300.83 in the foreign currency account.