President Akuffo-Addo has played up the achievements of his young administration saying those who dwelled so much on “spreading falsehood, scepticism and cynicism” before and after the elections have been embarrassed by his swift accomplishments.
The President was speaking at the palace of the Nayiri in the East Mamprusi district capital where he began a three-day working visit to the region. He was flanked by raft of government delegations including regional DCEs and party executives.
From one policy to another, the President, speaking to chiefs and people of the Mamprugu Traditional Area sounded very positive, full of optimism and confidence in the interventions rolled out by his government so far and continued his ridicule on opposition pessimisms.
“There are those who specialize in spreading falsehood, scepticism and cynicism in our country who don’t believe that some good thing can happen here in Ghana but before their very eyes, good things are happening in Ghana now”.
The President boldly referencing the much-touted Free Senior High School educational policy sincerely acknowledged the teething challenges of the policy and said it was “the beginning of many good things to come”.
He said government will concentrate on dealing with the infrastructural challenges of the policy and declared the policy will stay on course and remain in its established position.
He preached perseverance and assured all difficulties weighing down the efforts of his vibrant administration would be cleared soon.
“Whenever you begin something it will meet challenges and I know the Free Senior High School is meeting challenges of infrastructure and facilities, but the Chinese have a proverb I appreciate very much; They say that ‘a journey of five thousand miles begins with the first step’ and in the first step of the Free SHS and we will continue and its come to stay year after year, after year; Free SHS will be part of our educational system. We will be dealing with the infrastructural challenges”, the President indicated.
In what appeared to be an addressed of State of the Region, the President boasted of his efforts to revolutionaries the health sector and suggested that health care in the country was now efficient and effective since he took power less than a year now.
He mentioned as part of the efforts that the National Health Insurance Scheme which was paralyzed, decayed and devastated by the incompetence and mismanagement of the NDC administration is currently undergoing an overhaul.
The President hinted that just within seven months in office, an amount of GH560m has been paid as part of a GH1.2b debt incurred by the last administration and committed to defray the entire arrears within a 12-month period.
“The Health Insurance Scheme is a great legacy of that great Ghanaian leader, John Agyekum Kuffor when he was president but those who succeeded him could not look after the scheme, all they were able to do was to burden the NHIS with debt. When I swore the oath of office on the 7th of January this year, the NHIS have a debt of GH1.2b and because of that the service providers were no longer prepared to put their services on credit; they needed cash before they will give their service and that is what was the problem”
“So when I took a decision, the cynics, the skeptics, the jeremiahs were saying all kinds of things. We have been able to pay GH560m of the that debt, and for the first time for many years, service is now current; there are no longer arrears being built up. The service providers are being paid for their services currently”.
According to him, government will also focus on straightening the infrastructure of health delivery system in the country and added his administration will build two additional health facilities and provide more biometric machines in the Mamprugu Area, in direct response to a request made by the Overlord of the Area.
In the area of Agriculture, President Akuffo Addo flexed with the steps emplaced by his administration saying his over raw vision thereof was to make Ghana a food hub in the sub region where excesses would be exported for revenue.
He doled accolades to the formulators of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ revealing that about 200,000 farmers have already been enrolled on the program which he hoped will cover nearly two and half million farmers in the country at the end of his term. He said the policy would give respite to farmers and provide jobs to several other Ghanaians.
Mr. Akuffo Addo indicated that aside the distribution of fertilizers and subsidized insecticides, government was also mobilizing extension officers who he said had not been paid for almost half a decade to engage in the implementation of the policy. He said 1,200 officers have been engaged and it is expected to be increased to 3000 in the next year.
“You know that in life, whenever good things are happening there are always a few greedy, selfish people who would want to spoil the good things for their others just because of their pockets, I’m appealing to the Nayiri and the Naanima to assist the law enforcing agents to make sure the fertilizers and insecticide are not smuggled across the borders”, the President soberly pleaded, adding however that, “I want to assure you that anybody who is caught smuggling Ghanaian fertilizers, insecticides across our borders will face the full rigors of the law; the law will not such a person”.
Responding to another request by the Overlord, the President said plans have advanced to bring permanent solution to the acute water crisis in the area.
According to him funds have already been earmarked to deal with the perennial challenge in the entire area covering about four districts in the region.
He said GH13.4m out of 45m dollars secured by government for the rehabilitation and siting of water system in three regions in the country has been set aside to tackle water shortage in Walewale, Nalegiru and Gambaga.
The President also spoke about power and promised that some 447 communities in the East Mamprusi district will be connected to the grid starting from now to next year.
Administratively, President Nana Addo reechoed firm commitment to embolden decentralization in the country and in fulfillment spoke about the current upgrade of some districts to municipal status and hinted about the creation of two new districts to be curved out from Bunkprugu/Yunyoo and the Savulugu/Nanto districts.