Effective September 2017/2018 academic year, Fifty- Eight Thousand Health training nurses, comprising nurses and midwives will be paid their allowance of four hundred Ghana cedis (GH¢400.00) per person, for each of the ten months of the academic year.
"This means government will be spending a total of GH¢232,000,000 for this academic year. The E-Zwich platform will be used to effect payment, as it will ensure convenience, prompt payment, and accountability," he said.
President Akufo-Addo who made this known on Tuesday, at the Sunyani Nursing and Midwifery College said, "to the professional cynics and skeptics, those who have made an industry out of constantly asking 'is this policy sustainable?' I wish to assure them that, with the proper management of our public finances, the nation's budget can accommodate such an amount."
The President said the decision taken by him, in the run up to the 2016 elections, to restore the nursing training allowances if he won the election was not mere political rhetoric, campaign talk, and neither was it meant to deceive nursing trainees in order to get their votes.
According to President Akufo-Addo, "it was much more than that. We believed, and still believe, that Ghana needs all the nurses and healthcare workers she can get, if the nation is to have a solid, world class healthcare system, and we think it necessary to provide the relevant incentives to make that possible."
Deploying the cancellation of the allowances, in 2014, President Akufo-Addo asserted that the action brought untold hardships to the thousands of nurses and midwives in the country, who depended on it for their studies and for their welfare.
The cancellation, according to the President, left many trainee nurses demotivated and demoralised.
"By the grace of God, and by the generosity and trust of the Ghanaian people, I am here, today, as President of the Republic, ready to fulfill the pledge we made to you," he said, to a rousing applause from the packed auditorium of the school.
The implementation of the Free SHS policy, on 12th September, 2017, he added, should be an indicator of the fact that leadership is about choices.
"I have chosen to invest in the education and in the future of our young men and women, and I will use the blessings the Almighty has so amply bestowed on us to this end," he added.
The payment of the allowances, the President noted, would also not have been possible without the prudent management of the economy.
It is the judicious application of resources, he asserted that is heralding the revival of the National Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which has led to the payment of GH¢560 million out of the GH¢1.2 billion debt inherited from the Previous administration.
Government, he added, is committed to paying the balance within the next 12 months, indicating that "in the meantime, payments to service providers in the NHIS are now current, with no arrears being built up."
"We are going to make our public finances robust again, so we can pay our way in the world, like any self-respecting nation should," he added.
The President revealed that, within the short space of 9 months, Government has employed some 16,000 qualified young nurses and midwives and other health professionals, who, though qualified, had not found employment over the last few years.
Before the year ends, he assured that additional nurses and midwives will be employed.
"Next year, we plan to employ even more healthcare workers. To your colleagues in private nursing and midwifery training institutions, who have been at home for a number of years, next year our healthcare institutions will begin recruiting them," he added.
The aim of his government, he stressed, "is to banish the spectre of nurses, midwives and health assistants who are not posted after completion of their courses."
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)