CHIEF Government Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda says her government has not diverted any funds meant for drugs to fund free education as alleged in some sections of the media.
In a statement, Wednesday, Kasanda said the government had adequately funded hospitals ever since it took office.
“Government has not diverted any funds meant for the purchase of medical and health drugs to fund free education as alleged in some sections of the media. Government is taken aback by a story in which Patriotic Front member and former Roan Member of Parliament, Chishimba Kambwili is quoted as saying the reason behind the drug shortage is because government has used money meant to buy drugs to finance free education. This allegation is unfounded and a sheer figment of Mr Kambwili’s imagination. The New Dawn Government has adequately funded our hospitals ever since we took office,” she stated.
“We have increased the funding to hospitals from the K1.4 billion the PF used to allocate to hospitals to K3.8 billion. In December 2021 alone, we tripled the monthly allocation we give the hospitals. From January to March, we have doubled the amounts they used to receive from K50,000 to K100,000 a month. We have been paying these monies on time.”
Kasanda said the delay in purchasing drugs was caused by litigation matters, and further assured the public that government was working at normalising the situation.
“We would like to categorically state that we are aware that drug levels are not sitting at the ideal 80 percent level but are also not less than 50 percent. We believe, if the hospitals effectively used the monies we give them, they can avert the shortages. We know for a fact, that the delay in the purchase of drugs was caused by litigation matters that made the new ZAMMSA board re-advertise the tender. This process is unavoidable. Government wishes to assure members of the public that it is working at normalising the situation,” she said.
And in a separate statement, Kasanda said Cabinet had approved the Public-Private Dialogue mechanism aimed at fostering private sector development.
“His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr Hakainde Hichilema called for the 6th Cabinet Meeting in the Year 2022, held on Monday, 21st March, to discuss general policy issues. Engaging the Public and Private Sector to foster Private Sector and Economic Development. Cabinet approved the Public-Private Dialogue mechanism aimed at fostering private sector development, inclusive growth and economic development in the country. The Public-Private Dialogue mechanism will provide a Forum at which the Public and Private sectors will freely engage on policy issues that will facilitate socio-economic transformation,” she said.
Kasanda stated that the Public-Private Dialogue would be anchored in the Office of the President and chaired by President Hakainde Hichilema.
“It will not only provide a platform at which stakeholders and beneficiaries will be sensitised on policy issues, knowledge sharing, advocating for change, increasing ownership of the country’s transformation agenda and improving transparency in decision making, but also facilitate the exploring of medium and long-term co-financing opportunities from Private Sector, Government and Development Partners. The Public-Private Dialogue which will be referred to as the Forum for Public and Private Engagement, will be anchored in the Office of the President and will be chaired by the President, Mr Hakainde Hichilema,” she said.
Kasanda stated that the implementation of the proposed Public-Private Dialogue mechanism would unlock and create investment opportunities in the country.
“To ensure effective operation of the Forum for Public and Private Engagement, a Secretariat will be established in partnership with key private sector umbrella organisations to set the Agenda for the Forum and lead coordination and day-to-day activities. The implementation of the proposed Public-Private Dialogue mechanism will unlock and create investment opportunities in the country and will further accelerate social economic development, resulting in job creation, increased access to income and social services,” stated Kasanda.
“It will further enhance communication and outreach to beneficiaries and stakeholders, hence ensure success and ownership of the development initiatives. Cabinet is convinced that the proposed Public-Private Dialogue mechanism, if well implemented, will systematically address the many policy, institutional, legal and regulatory barriers to investment and also to provide an enabling environment for the private sector and general economic development for the good of the Nation at large.”