President Nana Addo Darkwa Akufo-Addo has addressed the nation, briefing Ghanaians the measures his administration has put in place, to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
During the Sunday night address watched by approximately, some thirty million people across the country, he touched on areas which were giving Ghanaians headache.
Amongst other things he announced health workers will not pay income tax on their salaries for April to June. Frontline staff will also receive a 50% allowance on their March-June basic salary.
In addition, they are to enjoy free rides to and from work on Ayalolo buses.
“Again, the Ghana Water Company Ltd and the Electricity Company of Ghana have been directed to ensure the stable supply of water and electricity during this period. In addition, there will be no disconnection of supply. Furthermore, government will absorb the water bills for all Ghanaians for the next three months, i.e. April, May and June. All water tankers, publicly and privately-owned, are also going to be mobilised to ensure the supply of water to all vulnerable communities.” the president said in his Sunday address.
“Government, in collaboration with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Business & Trade Associations and selected Commercial and Rural Banks, will roll out a soft loan scheme up to a total of ¢600 million, which will have a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period for micro, small and medium scale businesses. Fellow Ghanaians, it is vital that we protect the lives of our frontline health workers, who are risking their lives every day to battle this virus. That is why government is placing a high priority on the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for them.”
“Thus far, 350,000 masks, 558,650 examination gloves, 1,000 reusable goggles, 20,000 cover-alls, 7,000 N-95 respirators, 500. waterproof gumboots, 2,000 reusable face shields, 2,000 gallons of hand sanitizers, 10,000 100ml pieces of hand sanitizers, and five 500 shoe covers have been sent to the regional health directorates, for onward distribution to the district health directorates for use by our health workers in all the districts. The Minister for Health is ensuring that they reach the health workers. This, notwithstanding, Government is aware that more needs to be done, especially in the face of the global shortage of PPEs.”
Let’s give the devil his due. Akufo-Addo deserves to be commended for the bold steps taken in the fight against the dreaded novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Though social commentators have slammed him for incessantly using the platform as his political rally to score some cheap political points? His popularity has increased tremendously within the past few weeks he started his briefing.
The President added that”We are, thus, about to enter a critical phase of our fight in the coming week, as the Ghana Health Service is due to receive the results of some 15,384 out of 19,276 persons who have been reached through contact tracing. It is the results of these tests that will determine our future course of action. Government’s policy and measures will continue to be driven by the science in this matter. The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are now partnering government in the struggle. I met with their representatives on Friday, and arranged with them a mechanism for the realisation of this partnership. The nation and I appreciate their involvement”
Now moving forward, what is the president’s plan to win the fight against the hidden enemy? Quite frankly, if the president only approach of containing the contagious is for all and sundry to stay home, except, essential workers, then, it’s a menace to public health. Some carriers would show no signs and continue to spread the dangerous bug.
As a basic principle in life the first effective way in solving problems is: To identify the issues and be clear about what the problem is.
US President Donald Trump in a bid to overcome COVID-19 is testing 100,000 American people each day. Will we continue to stay home as though the vaccine for the contagion is quantining?
Is there a plan for widespread testing of every Ghanaian so as to isolate the virus — the way other countries have done? When will there be enough tests for that to happen? How will they be administered? Who will pay for the tests and the results?
What about ventilators? Have we ordered for some already? If yes, when will it arrive?
Have the ex-medics returned to work? What’s the package for them?
Are there plans to build new hospitals? When is that commercing?
Are there enough groceries which can feed Ghanaians and we won’t run out of food, if we are to extend the lockdown for at least two more months?
Mr President, what next?
We are far away from the halcyon days, apparently, we are not in the ordinary days and the sword of damocles is hanging over our head. Our 9/11 moment comes is fast approaching.
Any “idiot” with $100 million free money from World Bank and $600,000 COVID-19 Fund can do much and I personally see no need for the flattery. We celebrate mediocrity too much!