The Minister of Health designate, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has said that if given the opportunity to be the Minister of Health, he will ensure that operations of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) were not politicised. Mr Agyemang-Manu, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Dormaa Central, made the assertion when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament last Tuesday. “When I am given the nod, that is an area I will continuously urge members of the two leading political parties to avoid, considering the fact that a turn in the fortunes of the NHIS will inure to the benefit of everyone,” he said. He said the burden of support for health care would be taken away from MPs if the scheme succeeded. “Apart from that, our constituents will be happier, since they will be able to access health care easily and affordably. I am, therefore, going to look for best practices that can make health insurance work again,” Mr Agyemang-Manu said. He said he had apprised himself of a report by a committee set up by ex-President John Mahama to undertake a review of the scheme and found recommendations in it to be very insightful. “What is needed is management expertise and some funding to make the scheme stand on its feet,” he said. He said another thing that would attract his attention was easy access to health care for those above 50 years. On the recurrence of strikes by health professionals, the minister designate said he would have constant engagements with associations and unions in the health sector and work on their demands. Uncompleted infrastructure He promised to undertake an inventory of ongoing government infrastructure projects and ensure that they were completed. “There is a lot of construction going on across the country. I will request stocktaking of construction works that are ongoing, visit project sites and take inventory and work on them as soon as funds are made available,” he said. He also addressed questions on the situation of unemployment in the medical field, maternal and infant health, the transfer of medical officers into administrative roles, funding for the purchase of anti-retroviral drugs and the expansion of facilities for mental health. Minister designate for Agriculture Taking his turn before the committee, the Minister designate for Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the government would prioritise the agricultural sector by investing in infrastructure as a means of attracting investments and reduce the country's annual food import bill of $2 billion. The mass cocoa spraying exercise would be rejuvenated, he said, while technological support would also be given to farmers to engender growth in the agricultural sector. He said it was the intention of the government to collaborate with foreign and local investors in public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements which would also involve outgrower farming and support to smallholder farmers. GH¢560 million Dr Afriyie Akoto said the government would spend GH¢560 million this year to support farmers with improved seedlings, fertiliser and guaranteed market, so that the production of rice, maize, sorghum and other produce could be increased. According to him, the amount, which will be from the development partners and the government, was expected to be raised within the next three months. He expressed worry about the declining growth in cocoa production and said the government would allocate a lot more resources to the cocoa sector in order to significantly increase production. He indicated that the government would hire 1,000 graduates from the colleges of agriculture as extension officers this year to provide services for farmers. He said 3,500 graduates from colleges of agriculture would, by the next three years, be engaged as extension officers. Furthermore, four areas in the Northern Savannah had been identified for cattle grazing, Dr Afriyie Akoto said, adding that the government had already sent a delegation to the chiefs of the areas to discuss the possibility of starting the activity.
A peaceful, secure & prosperous nation, providing sustainable jobs through industralization for transformation: Read More.
CHANGE AN AGENDA FOR JOBS, Creating Prosperity & Equal Opportunity for All: Read More.
The first national asset of any country is its people, and they make their own history in the process of labouring to control and appropriate nature:Read More.