President Akufo-Addo has stressed that he would not just keep but deliver on the promises he made to Ghanaians during the 2016 electioneering campaign.
Countering what the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its faithful want Ghanaians to believe – that most of the promises he made during the electioneering campaign were mere platform talks to win votes – Nana Addo has reiterated his commitment to put them to shame because he is a man of his words.
He gave the assurance yesterday while addressing health workers at the Effia Nkwanta Hospital on the last day of his three-day working visit to the Western Region.
Free SHS, Teachers’ & Nurses’ Allowances
As a mark of commitment to keep his promises, he indicated that in September this year, two of the important campaign promises he made in the run-up to the December 2016 elections are going to be met; they are the ‘Free Senior High School’ programme and the restoration of trainee teachers’ and nurses’ allowances, which were cancelled by the erstwhile Mahama administration.
“Because of the importance of education, the first pledge to be met will be the ‘free Senior High School’ policy. You know how much I have been abused and traduced. I have been vilified, with people saying that I am doing it for politics; I am trying to buy votes; I can’t do it and I am lying to the people of Ghana. But by the grace of God and with the energy of the Minister for Education, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, in September, the ‘Free SHS’ policy is coming,” the president pointed out.
Also, he said with emphasis, “We committed ourselves to restoring the nurses’ and teacher trainees’ allowances; I am happy to inform you that the ‘Asempa Budget’ that Ken Ofori-Atta read in March, has made provision that at the beginning of this academic year, in September, the nurses’ and teacher trainees’ allowances are going to be restored in full.”
New Regional Hospitals
With the Eastern and the Western Regions being the only ones without regional hospitals in the country, President Akufo-Addo revealed that funding had been secured by government to commence the construction of a hospital in the Eastern Region.
The Ministry of Health, the president added, is currently examining four different proposals for the construction of a regional hospital in the Western Region.
“I do not think it would be right that because we want to build a new regional hospital, we abandon this old, famous hospital. I don’t think it would be right, and I am going to do all that I can, with the support of the ministry, to make sure that that doesn’t happen. Effia Nkwanta already has important teaching and important facilities here, and it will be rehabilitated,” he assured.
Bemoaning the poor state of the country’s health infrastructure, President Akufo-Addo stressed the importance of rebuilding the country’s health infrastructure.
“We begin not just with the physical rehabilitation, but with the preparation of the human material in our healthcare delivery system, and the rehabilitation and revival of the National Health Insurance Scheme. The NHIS was Kufuor’s great legacy to our nation. We (the NPP) are back in office, and it is our duty to restore the NHIS back to full health and vitality and that is what we are going to do.”
Already, according to the Deputy Minister of Health, Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai, the government had paid GH¢500 million out of the GH¢1.2 billion NHIS debt inherited from the Mahama government.
He said payments to NHIS service providers for 2017 are up-to-date.
Call For Support
Outlining the reforms undertaken by his government to return the country’s economy to full health, President Akufo-Addo appealed for unalloyed understanding and support of Ghanaians, especially of the health professionals.
“It is not going to be easy because our public finances were in a poor state. Unfortunately, I did not inherit a treasury filled with a lot of money. I inherited a bankrupt economy filled with debt. I am, nonetheless, not intimidated by the debt. Anybody with a good heart and good head and with determination can turn debt into money, and that is what I intend to do,” the president said.
He continued, “I need your support and understanding to give this nation a first-class health delivery system that the people of Ghana deserve, and we are going to do so with your active support and participation.
That, he said, was because “you are some of the most important people in any society, certainly here in Ghana – health workers, doctors, nurses and paramedicals; all of you, together, represent a huge and important human capital for the development of our country. I want you to know that you have a government in place that is going to give you the maximum support so that you can do your work well for the benefit of our people and the health of our nation.”
Central Regional Tour
President Akufo-Addo begins his tour of the Central Region today.
His first port of call would be in the regional capital, Cape Coast, where he and members of his entourage will pay a courtesy call on the Regional House of Chiefs.
He would later address a durbar of chiefs and people of Twifo and Atti Morkwa and spend the night there.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent