Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has exposed President Akufo Addo’s pipe dream that he will start and construct 88 district hospitals across the country by the close of 2020.
While presenting the 2020 mid-year budget review today, however, the Minister said the Akufo-Addo government’s plan will only materialise in governing party’s next term in office.
“The President has declared that all the district hospitals will be designed and built by Ghanaian built companies and will lay the foundation for the launch of a nation-wide housing programme, God willing, in his second term,” the Finance Minister said in what has been largely seen as empty political rhetoric.
This promise has no guarantee, as there is no guarantee that the Akufo Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government will win the December 2020 general elections to be able to implement this lofty plan and vice versa.
In Ghana, governments are entitled to only four years in office, after which they will have to contest again hoping to win another four-year term (which is the maximum a President can be privileged to have).
Essentially, the Finance Minister’s statement does not give much consolation, despite the unequivocal promise made by President Akufo Addo in April 2020.
“There are 88 districts in our country without district hospitals…We must do something urgently about this. That is why Government has decided to undertake a major investment in our healthcare infrastructure, the largest in our history. We will, this year, begin constructing 88 hospitals in the districts without hospitals,” President Akufo Addo said confidently
In May 2020, his deputy, Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia reemphasised this promise, saying construction work will start in July 2020.
Not a single foundation has been laid so far.
Indeed, when the President made this promise in April, sceptics questioned the sincerity of such an ambitious plan but were shot down by government appointees, who described them as naysayers.
The Finance Minister’s admission has inevitably proven these “naysayers” right.
President Akufo Addo has earned infamy as a habitual “promiser” and has been tagged with the derogatory nickname “King Promise”.