The Parliament of Ghana has put forward a proposal, requesting government to reduce the Food and Drugs Authority’s (FDA) Internally Generated Funds (IGF) by 30%.
This proposition, as per the report from the Committee on Health regarding the 2024 Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Health for the upcoming fiscal year, aims to provide the authority with the means to acquire new equipment and replace aging laboratory and field resources crucial for monitoring and surveillance operations.
Presently, the FDA retains 70% of its revenue for operational purposes. However, this allocation proves significantly insufficient to fulfill the extensive operational obligations required to safeguard public health.
The FDA, in its submission to the committee, highlighted its inability to execute its mandate due to logistical inadequacies and resource shortages. This insufficiency has resulted in a substantial backlog of inspections, resulting in waiting times of up to 5 months. This backlog adversely impacts operational efficiency and exposes consumers to unsafe products.
Consequently, the committee recommends the decapitation of 30% of the FDA’s IGF, akin to the approach taken with teaching hospitals. This strategic move would empower the FDA to procure new equipment, replace outdated resources necessary for monitoring substandard and falsified (SF) products in the market, enhance vigilance at porous borders to curtail the influx of SF products, acquire additional vehicles to address inspection backlogs and prevent incidents of food poisoning and unregulated street vendor foods.
This funding adjustment would also enable the FDA to advance technologically, thereby enhancing its capacity to carry out critical regulatory functions imperative for safeguarding public health and safety.
Moreover, the committee stresses that allowing the FDA to retain 100% of its IGF would only necessitate government compensation for FDA staff. Conversely, reallocating a portion of the funds would grant the FDA financial autonomy and the flexibility to allocate resources optimally.
Granting the FDA complete control over its funds would enable the streamlining of operations, investment in cutting-edge infrastructure, and the adoption of modern technologies. These advancements would significantly improve regulatory processes, leading to increased operational efficiency, reduced bureaucracy, and expedited services—a beneficial outcome for consumers, businesses, and the broader economy.