Health Minister urges interim budget

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Health Minister Prof. Channna Jayasumana observed that an interim budget would have to be presented by the Finance Ministry to meet the increasing cost of pharmaceuticals and the Ministry’s existing expenditure.

Prof. Jayasumana fielding questions by the media regarding the grievances of health service employees, extra duty payments and salaries observed that instructions had been issued to reduce overtime payments.

But that would not be the answer to the issue as the increasing cost of pharmaceuticals and the expenditure in the service and would make it necessary for the Finance Ministry to make new allocations for the Health Service.

Responding to questions as to the funds that were collected in the Itukama fund would be utilised to pay a large number of suppliers to the Health Service. The money in the fund is in rupees, he said.

He said there were food suppliers to Covid-19 treatment facilities who had not been paid till now. Some of them had to be paid over Rs 100,000 even though that amount would not amount to much in the current situation. However, it would be used to pay these people, Prof. Jayasumana said.

He said arrangements would be made to utilise the rupees in the Intukama Fund to make those payments.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne