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Just like ‘Oliver Twist’ the National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress is asking for more freebies from government during the country’s partial lockdown in the fight against deadly Coronavirus.
His comment follows President Akufo-Addo’s address to the nation on COVID-19 on Sunday.
Government absorbs water bill for 3 months
Ghanaians will not pay water bill for the next three months - this will be for the months of April, May and June 2020.
The move is expected to lessen the negative economic impact of government's two-week lockdown on individuals and businesses due to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to President Akufo-Addo, government is absorbing the water bills for all Ghanaians for the next three months.
“At the same time, water tankers, both publicly and privately owned are also going to be mobilised to ensure the supply of water to all vulnerable communities”, he added in a televised address to the nation on Sunday, 5 April 2020.
GHS350k insurance for each frontline health worker
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo also announced a GH¢350,000 insurance package for each health personnel and allied professional at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus outbreak after recoded 214 cases of the outbreak.
According to him, an insurance package, with an assured sum of three hundred and fifty thousand cedis (GH¢350,000) for each health personnel and allied professional at the forefront of the fight, has been put in place, with a daily allowance of one hundred and fifty cedis (GH¢150) being paid to contact tracers.
“Government has also decided that all health workers will not pay taxes on their emoluments for the next three months, i.e. April, May, and June. Furthermore, all frontline health workers will receive an additional allowance of fifty percent (50%) of their basic salary per month, i.e. for March, April, May, and June.
“The March allowance will be paid alongside that of April. The Ministry of Transport is also making available, for free, ‘Aayalolo’ buses to convey health workers in Accra, Tema, Kumasi, and Kasoa to and from work, along specific routes, for the entire duration of the restrictions.
Government feeding 400k homes in vulnerable communities in lockdown areas
The government will also be feeding some 400,000 individuals and homes in vulnerable communities in Accra, Kasoa, Tema, and Kumasi through the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP).
The areas under the programme are the affected areas the Government has locked-down and restricted movement to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to the President, the food distribution has begun in Accra on Sunday and will begin in Kumasi on Monday, 6 April.
Sammy Gyamfi in an interview with NEAT FM’s morning show ‘Ghana Montie’ commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his ‘outstanding’ measures during the lockdown period but noted that more can be done to make it a “solid and comfortable” lockdown for the citizenry.
“Government paying water bills, giving free transport, distributing foods are brilliant ideas. We [NDC] support all measures by the President in these times,” he said.
Asking for more
According to Sammy Gyamfi, Ghanaians in recent times need more than what the President has given.
He was emphatic that, electricity which is largely used by Ghanaians should be “absolutely” free for the next three months.
“Even locked-down Togo with less recorded cases of COVID-19 are enjoying free water and electricity. So why can’t you [President Nana Addo] give the people electricity for free? Good, water is essential but how many people have flowing taps in their homes? But the majority have lights so give them electricity for free,” he said.
Adding that, “The telecommunication companies must be forced to at least reduce their charges if they can’t give us free data in this period.”
The outspoken NDC National Communication Officer told NEAT FM’s morning show host, Kwesi Aboagye that their flagbearer and former President, John Dramani Mahama has already “recommended that government should give free electricity to the people”.
"Indeed, most of the newly announced interventions, such as free water, distribution of free food to deprived communities in lockdown areas, provision of insurance to our frontline health workers, local production of PPEs among others, were first canvassed by H.E John Dramani Mahama. We are glad that at long last, President Akufo-Addo is beginning to adopt these recommendations," he said.
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