President Nana Akufo-Addo says he wants Ghanaians to look upon him as a man of his word, and as someone who tells the truth and delivers on his promises.
He said in September 2017, two important campaign promises he made in the run-up to the December 2016 elections are going to be met.
The President added that this is an indication that the pledges he made during the electioneering period were not mere campaign platform talk, but are pledges that will be fulfilled during his tenure of office.
“Because of the importance of education, the first pledge to be met will be the Free senior high school (SHS) 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, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, in September, the Free SHS policy is coming,” the President said.
Again, President Akufo-Addo noted that “we committed ourselves to restoring the nurses and teacher training 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 training allowances are going to be restored in full.”
President Akufo-Addo was addressing health workers at the Effia Nkwanta Hospital on Wednesday on the last day of his 3-day working visit to the Western Region, when he made this known.
With the Eastern and Western Regions being the only regions without regional hospitals in the country, President Akufo-Addo revealed that funding has been secured by government to commence the construction of a regional 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 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 said.
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 also doubles as the Member of Parliament for Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai, government has paid GH¢500 million out of the GH¢1.2 billion NHIS debt inherited from the Mahama government. Payments to NHIS service providers for 2017 are up-to-date.
Outlining the reforms undertaken by his government to return the country’s economy back to full health, President Akufo-Addo appealed for the 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.
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.”