Government frustrating “Heal Komfo Anokye” project

Feature Article Government frustrating Heal Komfo Anokye project

In one of my previous articles titled “Government’s dereliction of duty: The sad case of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital” I deprecated the government’s decision to ignore the sorry state of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) to the mercy of Asantehene Osei Tutu II. I explained how disheartening it is for the government to show lack of interest in the renovation of such an important medical institution. Little did I envisage that, the government will go a step further to frustrate and exasperate the team in their effort to accomplish the project.

The Komfo Anokye Teaching hospital is the second biggest hospital in the country with a bed capacity of over 1,200, and twelve out of the sixteen regions in this country have their patients referred to this hospital.

The Asantehene launched an initiative to mobilise $10 million for the renovation of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, because the current state of the hospital is nothing to write home about, and the current government has shown no interest. The initiative was dubbed “Heal Komfo Anokye”.

Individuals and corporate organisations have listened to the Asantehene’s clarion call and donated massively towards this project. The project coordinators have imported materials (tiles) for the purpose of renovating the hospital, however, the government is refusing to aid the project coordinators in clearing the tiles.

Meanwhile, leaking roofs at the Gee block and other facilities cry out for renovation and expansion, critical construction materials remain stranded at the Tema port, aggravating the dire situation.

Tema port authorities are demanding GHC180 million as import tariff before the tiles could be cleared, this is supposed to be the primary responsibility of the government, because the hospital is a state owned revenue generating entity, with all revenues going to the government and not to the Asantehene.

In an attempt to minimise renovation expenses and maximize the utilization of the funds raised so far, the project coordinators and the hospital authorities sent a letter to the government through the Ministry of Finance, requesting an import duty waiver on the materials and equipment designated for the project. However, the government have remain adamant and unmoved. This is the zenith of irresponsibility exhibited by any government in a glaring and disrespectful manner.

Here is a government that has given import tariff waivers to foreign companies as announced by the Minister for Finance during the 2024 budget speech, but is reluctant to do same to the KATH project. This is beyond comprehension.

As a result of the government’s intransigent stance, the project has finds itself at a standstill, leaving citizens angry and questioning why the government is not committed to waiving the costs for the goods to be cleared. It is obvious that, the concerns raised by Ghanaians have fallen on deaf ears.

The Akufo-Addo-Bawumia administration is being overtly insensitive to the plight of the people who receives medical treatment at the Hospital. The hospital is owned by the government, all proceeds goes to the government, renovating the hospital is the responsibility of the government, but due to its negligence, the Asantehene took it upon himself to mobilise funds for this wonderful project, how and why the government is being intransigent in issuing a waiver is a confirmation of its irresponsibility and disregard for the people in the Ashanti region.

Ironically, the hospital is located in the Ashanti region which is the stronghold of the ruling party with fourty-two Members of Parliament on the ticket of the president’s party, the NPP and one independent Member of Parliament who has declared his allegiance to the ruling government making fourty-three out of fourty-seven including the chief of staff and about eight cabinet ministers all hailing from the region. Yet, they cannot impress upon their own government to make funds available to renovate the hospital and cannot impress upon their own government to issue a waiver to clear the tiles from the Tema port, after the Asantehene’s initiative.

These powerful and influential personalities from the Ashanti region have become synonymous to tasteless salt that has lost its value, and is good for nothing and must therefore be thrown away.

Some Ghanaians have expressed their displeasure with the government’s failure to assist the Heal Kath Project team in clearing the goods at the port, however, the government remains unperturbed.

The action of the government is reprehensible and shameful, I therefore urge all well-meaning Ghanaians to compel the government to issue the waiver to facilitate the successful renovation of this important hospital.