General News of Wed, 7 Jan 20042
President Kufuor responds to criticisms on NHIS
Accra, Jan.7 GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday asserted the viability of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in response to public criticisms of the scheme by organised labour and other interest groups.
He said before the NHIS was given the presidential assent the Government calculatedly decided to borrow the seed money from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
President Kufuor, who was addressing the third People's Assembly in Accra, said the merit of the decision had been questioned by some sections of the society, especially the Leadership of organised labour. "I want all workers to rest assured that their entitlements under the scheme remain intact and will be paid in full when it is due." The forum a novelty of the President to be replicated in all the 10 Regions marks 11 years of the Fourth Republic which is on the theme: Good Governance Through Democracy."
President Kufuor said: "Government's position is that of a borrower, and there can be no doubt about its credit worthiness. "Thirdly, all over the world, governments resort to pension funds for social developments, and public works. No one can deny that NHIS qualifies in this category."
President Kufuor said the Scheme was the best way to make health delivery accessible to and affordable for all citizens, both rich and poor, the employed and unemployed.
"I, therefore, want to appeal to all, especially organised labour, to allay their fears."
He gave an assurance to the packed audience at the auditorium of the Accra International Conference Centre of his personal commitment and that of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to ensure peaceful elections.
The President Kufuor created the People's Assembly as an annual platform for a cross-section of the people to interact with members of the Executive to exchange views and ideas on the direction of government policies and programmes.
Highlights of President Kufuor's 15- minute address were on the proposed sale of the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO); National Health Insurance Scheme; the Dagbon Chieftaincy Crisis and efforts to clear Accra and other regional capitals of filth.
The confident looking President said the Government was focussed and resolved to achieve its development objectives.
"A solid foundation is being laid, to support the super structure of accelerated economic growth and development to lift the nation to a middle income country.
"This sums up the vision of the government," he said, at the forum that Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Members of the Council of State, Ministers of State, Diplomats and representatives of the various political parties attended.