President John Dramani Mahama has made his first public statement concerning the many labour agitations on the country’s health front, indicating that government would not spend out of its stipulated budget.
Urging the doctors to call off their strike, President Mahama indicated that government is determined to strictly follow austere measures with regard to the budget hence he would not approve any monies outside of it.
According to the president “any agreements that are reached in respect of allowances or conditions of services would have to be appropriately captured in the budget. And I want to say for emphasis, I would not authorize any expenditure on wages and compensations not provided for in the budget.”
Speaking to midwives and other health professionals after seven days since the doctors declared a strike over conditions of service, the president said “physical discipline requires that not a single pesewa is spent on remuneration outside what has been budgeted for.”
“And this goes for both article 71 office holders and those on the Single Spine. It goes for the president as well as the lowest public sector employee. I am determined to hold the line no matter the political cost” the president added.
Ghana’s health sector has been fraught with labour agitations and strikes with the latest being medical doctors. Their reason for embarking on the strike stems from what they describe as governments refusal to give them improved conditions of service.
Three people have died so far and this has been attributed to the doctors’ strike. Several public health facilities have been abandoned, shifting the pressure on private hospitals and clinics. About two weeks ago, some 90 junior doctors picketed at the Controller and Accountant Generals Department to demand their 11 months’ salary arrears.
Government has cleared that debt. Nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital recently called off their sit-down strike after assurances from the Employment and Labour relations minister, Haruna Iddrisu that monies have been released for onward payment.
Unpaid Nurses and Midwives Association of Ghana has also given a 5-day ultimatum which ends on Friday after which they would advise themselves.
Government according to the opposition New Patriotic Party – NPP, is clueless about how to handle the health crisis in the country.