General News of Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Source: NPP Communications Directorate
The 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, yesterday, forced President Mahama to contradict his own sector Minister, as well as an August 18, 2011 cabinet memo, on the cost of training the 250 Ghanaian students in Cuba.
Nana Akufo-Addo, in outlining his policy initiatives for the health sector, yesterday at the IEA Presidential debate, stated that the lack of adequate health personnel in Ghana's Health Service was worrisome and his administration will ensure that the training of health workers locally to efficiently man hospitals, clinics and other health facilities would be a priority of his government.
Nana Addo cited the opaque scheme run by then Vice President Mahama, now President Mahama, when Ghana signed an agreement to train 250 Ghanaian students in Cuba at a total cost of GHc160 million.
This move by President Mahama, according to Nana Addo, translated into an average of GH¢105,000 per student per year. The NPP presidential candidate stated that these students could have been trained in Ghana for GH¢30,000, according to the Ghana Medical Association.
Nana Addo added that this amount spent by President Mahama could have been channeled into the various medical schools in universities in Ghana to expand infrastructure, as well as train more doctors compared to the numbers sent to Cuba.
President Mahama, visibly rattled by Nana Addo's statement, said the cost of training one Ghanaian student in Cuba, as a doctor, is $5,000, and not GH¢105,000, as stated by Nana Addo and the then Minister of Health, Joseph Yieleh Chireh. This, according to the President’s facts, implies that the cost of training all 250 students in Cuba for 6 years is $7.5 million (GH¢12.45 million in 2011).
President Mahama's assertions elicited a swift rebuttal from Nana Addo, who stated that the figures he quoted were not his, but rather that of President Mahama’s own sector Minister and also evident in the documents President Mahama, himself, signed with the Cuban government, information which is available on the internet for Ghanaians to verify.
It is recalled that in August 2011, cabinet approved a deal, negotiated by President Mahama, amounting to GH¢160 million, for the training of the 250 Ghanaian students in Cuba. In the memo presented to cabinet, from former Health Minister, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, dated August 18, 2011, which was approved by Chief of Staff, John Henry Martey Newman, the Minister sought to justify the amount of GH¢160 million being spent on the training of 250 individuals.
Per President Mahama's "new" figures and that of his sector Minister's, there is therefore some GH¢147.5 million which has not been accounted for, and for which the Ghanaian taxpayer deserves answers to.