Govt to revamp NHIS to make it universal to all

President Akufo-Addo(fifth from right) with some leaders of Advocate International after the opening session.

President Akufo-Addo(fifth from right) with some leaders of Advocate International after the opening session.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has pledged to develop the country’s healthcare system and make it accessible to even the poorest in the society through an improved National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

He said the government has begun the process of clearing the arrears of debt that had saddled the smooth operations of the health insurance scheme, a legacy of former President John A. Kufuor.

President Akufo-Addo made the pledge at the Advocates Africa Convocation held under the auspices of the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Ghana in Accra yesterday.

He expressed the government’s commitment to build a business-friendly economy and a country beyond aid, while maintaining a stable macroeconomic environment in a context of a growing economy.

“We aim to enhance accountability in our public life. Corruption has become the bane of our nation’s progress. The Office of Special Prosecutor, which will be enacted in the next session of Parliament, will work independently of the Executive, and will have the responsibility to investigate and prosecute acts of corruption, free from predictable claims of witch-hunting. Words can no longer defeat the canker of corruption. Concrete actions must,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo said the government’s industrial regeneration programme, the policy of 1-District-1-Factory, the agricultural revival, through the  Planting for Food and Jobs programme, targeted infrastructural development, especially of our roads and railways, and promoting access to digital technology would be the main avenues for job creation.

According to him, Ghanaians elected him into office because they were dissatisfied with their living conditions and the direction in which the economy was headed.

“I pledged to help build a prosperous society, which creates opportunities for all its citizens, a society where there is discipline and fairness, where people go about their lives in a free and responsible manner, a society where there are safety nets for the vulnerable and decent retirement for the elderly, an open society protected by well-resourced and motivated security services, and where the rule of law works,” he said.

The President said the country had lived in captivity like the Biblical story of the Jews in Babylon and had overcome several trials and tribulations such as slavery, imperialism, colonialism, tyranny and dictatorship, among others.

“We have held elections that were questionable. We have had rule by law, without rule of law. We have lived in a society which did not institutionalise a culture of aspirations and opportunities. This history led to an apparent weakening of the sense of self-confidence amongst our people”.

“Nonetheless, what our long, tortured history has taught us is that the spirit of the Ghanaian, in his or her quest for peace, progress and prosperity, cannot be quenched. We are a determined lot who cannot be deterred. We have had our failures as a nation. But failure is never fatal so long as our courage to persevere prevails. We have seen how important it is to have a society that respects human rights,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo said the country was currently enjoying its longest, sustained period of democracy because earlier generations willed it, fought for it and risked their lives for it.

“They had a mind and a heart attuned to sacrifice. It was the belief of the founders that Ghanaians could build a great civilisation like any other people of the world. Today, after quite some time, we are recognised as the beacon of democracy on the continent”.

“We are a country governed by the principles of democratic accountability, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the rule of law. Our role, as lawyers, in procuring this end, has been recognised by all, and when the history of our nation is being written, not only will we find our efforts being acknowledged, but, surely, them being written in letters of gold”.

By Yaw Kyei

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