15 May 2003

Cooks health ministry considers cost cutting to meet Government demands

5:22 pm on 15 May 2003

The Health Ministry in the Cook Islands is looking at ways to meet 10 percent cutbacks demanded by the government.

The acting secretary of health, Adi Narayan, says negotiations are continuing with the budget committee and the ministry is prepared to contribute to the savings required.

But, he says he's concerned that if ten percent cuts across the board are required, it may have a serious impact on health.

"Staffing is a major component of Ministry of Health expenditure and obviously the ten percent will have its impact on staffing but to what degree at this time I am reluctant to speculate on and I think we have got to wait till the outcome of the budget process"

Mr Narayan says he hopes that cuts can be made in areas other than services.

The Finance minister, Dr Terepai Maoate, has advised all ministries to reduce expenditure by ten percent as budget revenue forecasts can't be achieved.