As the Coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on human health, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday proposed an allocation of Tk32,731 crore for health services and health education sector, up Tk 3,484 crore than last year’s allocation.
The minister came up with the proposal while unveiling the national budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year in Parliament.
With the new allocation, the health sector 5.42 percent of the total budget and 12 percent increase in absolute terms.
Though the government has given priority to the protection of lives and livelihoods, the total allocation is still nearly 1 percent of the GDP. But the World Health Organization recommends it should be at least 5 percent.
Health experts, however, said the proper implementation of the allocation is a big challenge for the health sector as the Health Ministry has long been manifesting poor performance in utilising the budgetary allocation.
They said the health ministry could not spend around Tk 9,000 crore of the development budgets of this sector in the outgoing fiscal year.
The experts warned that without well-thought-out plans, alongside their proper implementation and effective management, the intended goals cannot be achieved through the allocation earmarked for the health sector.
They also said the Health Ministry should now first identify the areas of expenditure and the demands of the health sector based on priorities, for an upgrade to the country’s healthcare services.
In his budget speech, the minister said, “Giving an utmost priority to the programmes and steps taken by the government to address the Covid-19 pandemic, I propose to allocate Tk. 32,731 crore for the Health and Family Welfare sector in the next fiscal year, which was Tk. 29,245 crore in FY2020-2021.”
Like last year, he said, they have made a slight deviation from the traditional budget for the sake of effectively combatting the Covid-19 pandemic and resolutely overcoming its economic impact by giving priority to protection of lives and livelihoods.