HEALTH MINISTRY DEMANDS REVISION OF CONTRACT FOR CONSULTING SERVICES UNDER WORLD BANK'S LOAN
Some of the closed contracts for consulting services under the health care loan from the World Bank (WB) should be revised and optimized, the team of the Ministry of Health Care demanded at the start of negotiations with representatives of the international financial institution on January 23. The WB's mission ends on January 26, and the conclusive meeting of the Minister of Health Care Bozhidar Finkov with Andrew Vorkink, WB Director for Central and Southeastern Europe, is schedueld for next week.As the BANKER weekly already announced in its previous issue, on the insistance of the Ministry of Health Care WB experts began a review of the money spent so far under the health care loan, lent to Bulgaria by the international credit institution. The loan is worth BGN63.3MN (equivalent to EUR68.9MN). According to the managements of the Ministry of Health Care and of the National Health Care Fund (NHCF), the money is not being efficiently used.The Bulgarian side is adamant that some contracts for consulting services with foreign experts should be optimized. This concerns mostly consultants, for whose services a lot of money has been paid. The World Bank wants a restructuring of the laon itself, separating the money intended for the Ministry of Health Care from that for the NHCF. The technology negotiated by the former Bulgarian government creates a chaos, as the Minister of Health Care signs the contracts for goods and services, to be received by the NHCF.According to WB data, some USD40MN is earmarked for the NHCF, and almost USD20MN - for the Ministry of Health Care. However, Mr. Finkov's ministry was so far expecting about USD10MN only from the loan's investment programme. The progarmme itself should be redrafted as well, the Bulgarian side believes. The initial agreement projects that USD3MN should be spent for equipment of general practitioners' consulting rooms, and USD8MN is to be invested in the purchase of apparata for the hospitals.The WB's prsent mission to Bulgaria should also prepare the next stage of the loan which is very important. It concerns deliveries of medical equipment.