The National Communications Officer for the National Democratic Congress says while recent incentives and interventions announced by President Akufo-Addo are in the right direction, its implementation remains to be seen. According to Sammy Gyamfi, this is due to the fact that these social interventions raise pertinent questions and issues that are yet to be addressed by government.
President Akufo-Addo during his televisioned address to the nation on Sunday, April 5, announced that for the months of April, May, and June, his government will absorb the cost of all water bills for every Ghanaian. He also said the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) have been directed to ensure that there is stable supply of water and electricity for the next three months.
The President also announced a special package for health workers at the forefront of the Covid-19 fight in the country which included an insurance package, with an assured sum of ¢350,000 for each health personnel and a daily allowance of ¢150 to be paid to contact tracers.
According to Akufo-Addo, his government has also decided that all health workers will not pay taxes on their emoluments for the next three months but in addition, will receive an allowance of 50 percent of their basic salary per month i.e. for March, April, May, and June.
But touching on these incentives, the NDC communicator said, government has not put in place the necessary measures to ensure the smooth implementation of the directive that has gotten social media users excited.
“How reliable is this directive given the recent press statement by the GWCL, in which they indicated that they are experiencing challenges with water supply in Accra and several parts of the country, and admonished consumers to brace ourselves for imminent water rationing, which by the way, has already began?” he questioned.
Again, he asked, “how reliable is this directive, given recent lamentations of GRIDCO about the lack of sustained financing to fuel various dual power generation plants? “This is what is partly accounting for the intermittent power outages we are experiencing in several parts of the country as recently reported by several news portals.”
Mr Sammy Gyamfi urged government to stop engaging in public relations and information management so it can better address the coronavirus pandemic facing the country. The NDC Communications Officer called on President Akufo-Addo to show more works as promises are not achievements.
He said serious challenges including the lack of PPEs for frontline health workers remain unresolved while lockdown protocols in most deprived areas are not being observed. Mr Gyamfi expressed worry, these could lead to a spread of the virus instead of a win in the battle.
“In the last few weeks, the President has given several assurances to our frontline health workers that government is procuring and will be providing them with PPEs.“However till date, this promise has not been fulfilled and has compelled doctors and nurses at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to threaten a sit-down strike action over lack of PPEs and other essential logistics.
“This is just a reflection of the general apprehension among our frontline health workers across the country. Various health facilities, be they clinics or hospitals are reeling under the burden of lack of basic PPEs. “Public education and sensitization on the pandemic still remains low, especially in deprived communities. Even in some of the Metropolitan epicenters, some public spaces such as markets are still choked with little to no social distancing.
“So far, Government’s response to the pandemic has been one of Public Relations and Information Management. There are a lot of things government is not telling us. We must brace ourselves for a possible extended lockdown and extreme hard times in the coming weeks. “In critical times like this, we must celebrate works and not words. Promises are not achievements,” he concluded.