The Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) has invested 64 thousand 189 million colones from its contingency fund for the control of the COVID-19 Pandemic as of August 21st, 2020, informed Karen Nájera Rodríguez, head of the subarea Budget Formulation and Modifications.
Nájera Rodríguez reported that this represents an execution of 75.5 percent. The institution has an available amount of 20,810 million colones and an extraordinary budget is in process to reinforce this fund by an additional 40 billion. With these additional funds, said the official, it will be possible to address the strategies and future needs that are being generated, bearing in mind that the Institution declared the emergency situation giving priority to the attention of the Pandemic, both in services and in the allocation of financial resources, therefore, if required, the Institution will be in a position to reinforce this fund with more resources.
The CCSS has had a Contingency Fund since 2016, created to ensure the continuity of the provision of health services to the population and to deal with the unpredictability of risks of various kinds.
The Board of Directors approved a reserve for contingencies in session 8855 of July 21, 2016 with the intention of providing the institution with resources for the management of response and recovery operations during and after an event, incident or disaster.
Since 2016, this Fund has been available and has been used to attend to various emergencies such as: floods caused by Hurricane Otto, Hurricane Neith, flooding of institutional infrastructure and guaranteeing the continuity of services in the event of strike movements. The source of financing for these resources comes from surpluses from previous periods and from current income, said Nájera Rodríguez.
“The Board of Directors defined an amount in 2016 that progressively increased and that by 2020 it should reach 45 billion colones,” the official explained. She added that as a result of the Pandemic care needs, it was necessary to reinforce the fund with an additional 40 billion colones that were approved by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic. To this would be added the extraordinary budget that is being processed, with which a total of 125 billion colones is being allocated for this Pandemic. The official indicated that this amount could in the future be reviewed again by the Board of Directors according to the behavior of the Pandemic and the requirements for its attention.
Execution of funds for COVID-19 patient care
Karen Nájera explained that the reinforcement of 40 billion colones allowed the attention of various needs such as the conversion of CENARE to CEACO and the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as the purchase of reagents and tests.
To date of the 85 billion colones, there is an available of 20,810.9 million colones. And as indicated, an extraordinary budget is currently in process to reinforce this fund by an additional 40 billion.
“The investment that has been made per month until so far in August reflects a gradual increase according to the expansion of services that the institution has had to carry out and the evolution of the Pandemic,” she said.
She explained that in the month of April an important amount of ¢ 30,534.3 million was recorded, associated among others with the conversion of Cenare to CEACO and the first important purchases of PPE and in the month of July the investment effort by the sum of ¢ 17,600.2 million of resources in purchases also related to PPE, tests and reagents for COVID-19. The resources have been invested mainly in: materials and supplies, 54.9 percent for the purchase of reagents, diagnostic tests, gowns, masks, among others.
In equipment 25.6 percent for the purchase of lung ventilators, aspirators, video laryngoscopes, sign monitors, among others 15.2 percent has been earmarked for remuneration, such as payment to personnel who are attending the Pandemic in the care of the different services. And 4.3 percent has been dedicated to other items basically maintenance, subsidies, among others.
Transparent financial administration and good use of resources
The official responsible for the Budget Formulation and Modifications Subarea, stated that the use of these resources is done in a transparent manner and in accordance with the Law of Financial Administration and Public Budgets, the Technical Standards of Public Budget of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, as well as the Institutional Internal regulations. For this, the Financial Management has a Procedure Manual that establishes the requirements for accessing and disposing of these resources from the Contingency Fund.
In addition, the Administration established an official information tool for the registration and control of the assigned resources and the units must periodically present an accountability report for the assigned resources. To this must be added that these funds are also subject to the supervision of the competent control offices in this matter.