ONLY FRONTLINERS SHOULD ENJOY THE 50% ALLOWANCE, NOT EVERY HEALTH WORKER.
Many a man in the health sector cannot stay out of this debate on whether the allowance the President has announced for the frontline workers should affect just a few or all those in the health sector.
I am using this piece to make my submission on the subject. I would begin by saying that I am unable to subscribe to the argument that all in the health sector should be beneficiaries of this package.
Coronavirus’ destructive tendencies cannot be missed as the pandemic continues to ravage people across the globe.
The repercussions of this COVID-19 pandemic on Ghana as an economy cannot be underestimated. It is throwing out of gear the country’s economic roadmap for the fiscal year.
The undefined proportions of afflictions and the uneasy consciousness of pain continue to weary and torment the citizens incessantly as a result of this deadly ailment.
To extenuate the hardships brought upon the people through no fault of theirs, President Akufo-Addo, in his determination to help the people, outlined a number of policies.
Apart from announcing that Ghanaians should enjoy free water supply for the next three months, he also particularized the people at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that all those in the health sector comprising doctors, nurses, paramedics and all those who are in the health sector, are to enjoy tax-free salaries for the months of April, May and June.
Moreover, those who are directly involved in the fight against the pandemic will enjoy additional allowance of 50% of their salaries for the three months under discussion.
This announcement by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been hailed by Ghanaians including the beneficiary sectors of this package.
Though this has met the happy agreement of many Ghanaians, some officers in the health industry have called on the President to extend this policy of 50% allowance to all workers in the health sector.
This call, much as it may not be entirely out of place, should be dispensed with, and the reasons are many and varied.
The pandemic has had adverse effects on the financial health of the country. Resources to roll out this package are limited and must, therefore, be restricted to only those in the health centres with reported cases of COVID-19 infections.
It is more likely than not that other sectors may also receive a similar stimulus package in the course of the week, so caution must be exercised in this project. The media and the football fraternity are all knocking on the door of the state to give them part of the stimulus package and for that matter, the state cannot spend all it has earmarked for this exercise on just one sector of the economy to the detriment of the other sectors.
The world is still in the dark as to the longevity of this deadly pandemic and for that matter, a judicious use of the country’s resources at this time must be the focus. The country may end up needing more to cater for the people if the pandemic shows no signs of retreating sooner than later.
The Ministry of Health and its allied bodies in this exercise must ensure that only the hospitals and health facilities, including the ambulance drivers and paramedics in the lockdown areas and the pockets of areas with reported cases of COVID-19 should be the beneficiaries, not the entire health sector workers.
Stretching the argument, then the entire military and police forces should also be added to the beneficiary persons since those in the health sector are clamoring for all health workers to be captured by this exercise.
It is upon these reasons that this must not be wholesaled in its implementation. The target should be those who are directly involved in containing the pandemic.
P.K.Sarpong, Whispers from the Corridors of the Thinking Place.