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General News of Thursday, 17 July 2014

Source: GNA

MOH denies directive to sack casual workers

Alhaji Dr Major (rtd) Dr Mustapha Ahmed, Acting Minister of Health, has denied that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has directed public hospitals to dismiss all casual workers by the end July 2014.

“Mr Speaker, it is not true that the Ministry has directed all Government hospitals to sack all casual workers in the hospitals by the end of this month,” Alhaji Ahmed told Parliament on Tuesday.

This was after Speaker Doe Adjaho had informed the House of a communication from President John Dramani Mahama on the appointment of Alhaji Ahmed, a dental surgeon and MP (NDC) for Ayawaso East in Accra, to be responsible for the Health Ministry.

Alhaji Ahmed was answering an urgent question by Mr Frank Boakye Agyen, (NPP- Effiduase/Asokore) on whether it was true that the Ministry had given the directive to hospitals for the said dismissals.

The Acting Minister is holding the fort until Parliament gives the nod or otherwise to Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, until recently the Ashanti Regional Minister, nominated by the President, and vetted last week, to replace Madam Hanny-Sherry Ayittey, who has been re-assigned to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The Acting Health Minister said the International Labour Organisation Convention, and the Ghana Labour Act, 2003 Act 657, prohibit the engagement as a casual worker for more than six months, without confirmation and appointment, and recalled that a letter dated April 11 was written to the Minister of Finance for financial clearance to regularize the engagement of casual workers by Government.

He said the instruction was that the various hospitals could engage the casuals they needed directly by issuing works contracts to them, and effect payment using their internally-generated funds with prior approval from the Ministry of Health.

Alhaji Ahmed answered another urgent question that stood in the name of Mr William Agyapong Quaitoo (NPP Akim Oda), who wanted to know when the allowances of 2012 and 2013, batches of nursing trainees would be paid, since a considerable number of the trainees were being sacked for non-payment of their school fees.

The Acting Minister said the Ministry of Health (MOH) had rather made a total payment of Ghc 140 million from January to December 2013, and from January to April this year.

However, the list obtained from the Ministry’s account contained so many irregularities, and several unknown organizations receiving students’ allowances.

“ Mr Speaker, as a result of the irregularities in the payment schedule, it has become expedient to reconcile the names of students against their various institutions. Some trainees have been on Government payroll since 2001, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 20100.

Alhaji Ahmed spoke of arrangements detailing the structure of payment of the arrears.

On the question asked by Mr Henric Yeboah as to when the SDA Hospital at Agona Asaman would be given accreditation to operate midwifery school, the Acting Minister said, the hospital would first have to apply to the Nursing Midwifery Council for clearance.

He said the Council would then recommend to the National Accreditation Board for commencement of procedures towards institutional and programme accreditation of the midwifery programme.