Major boost for healh sector as State in fleet of 528 ambulances

THE proposed 2023/24 budget for the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Governments (PO-RALG), which also unveiled the arrival of 528 ambulances to be distributed to all councils countrywide, was unanimously endorsed by the Members of Parliament yesterday.

In response to concerns expressed by lawmakers prior to the budget’s approval, the docket’s Minister, Angellah Kairuki, stated that ambulances started arriving in the country on April 7, this year.

“During the budget estimates debate, majority of lawmakers expressed concerns about acute shortage of ambulances in their constituencies, but there is good news: we have ordered a fleet of 528 ambulances in coordination with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF,” she said

She added, “Earlier, we were supposed to get 407 ambulances, but with that collaboration, the number has increased in which, each council will get an ambulance and one vehicle for the management and coordination of health projects in their areas,”

Ms Kairuki further said that for the last two fiscal years, the government allocated 280.35bn/- which has been used to complete 52 classrooms, dormitories, and health centres and 1,419 dispensaries. For the year 2023/2024 more than 20.56bn/- has been allotted where it will complete the construction of more than 376 dispensaries, 10 dormitories and other infrastructure.

She said PO-RALG, in collaboration with the regions and councils; assessed the real needs of the unfinished dipsensaries in order to set a strategy for completing them.

On Tanzania Rural and Urban Roads Agency (TARURA), she said there was an argument about it not having enough offices. “That is true and the agency has already come up with a strategy to get plots in councils to start construction of their own offices,” said Ms Kairuki.

Regarding the lack of vehicles, she said to date TARURA has 282 vehicles and the government has continued to procure more, the shortage, she said, currently stands at 177 cars.

She added that President Samia Suluhu Hassan had ordered the issuance of an employment permit for the hiring of 250 engineers in the country, who would be responsible for overseeing the construction of projects carried out countrywide.

In addition, she said that the country is currently facing a shortage of 262 ward executive officials, 2,864 local government officials and 1,773 village officials.

“There is a shortage of 262 ward officials as well as 1,773 village executive officers, and the government will continue to hire them budget withstanding,” the minister said in reference to the shortage of local, village, and ward government officials’ comments by legislators.

Earlier, Deputy Minister PO-RALG (Health) Festo Dugange said they will work on all the queries and recommendations aired by lawmakers.

“On hospitals and health care centers concern the government’s priority at the moment is to complete the unfinished buildings, after that we will move on to the construction of new ones,” he said.

Dr Dugange said the government has put in place a system to ensure that disciplinary and legal measures are taken against employees who commit misconduct.

Regarding good governance, he said steps have started to be taken and they will continue for all those who will be involved in misappropriation of public funds.

Last Friday, Ms Kairuki tabled her office’s budget estimates with the proposed 2023/24 budget increasing by 3.4 per cent compared to the allocation made in the current fiscal year, with focus on driving people’s development and national wellbeing.

The minister asked the House to endorse a 9.1tri/- budget for the coming financial year.

The Parliament had endorsed 8.8tri/- for the ministry’s 2022/23 budget, which is to say the next budget will see an increase of 0.3tri/-, if the MPs endorses the proposed budget today.

According to Ms Kairuki, the increase means that the development budget will be about 3.5tri/-, up from 3.3tri/- of the current budget.

On the other hand, the ministry plans to spend about 5.7tri/- for recurrent expenditure, increasing from 5.5tri/- allocated in the current financial year.

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