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COVID-19: Finance Ministry earmarks GH¢80m special allowance for frontline health workers

The Finance Ministry says it is awaiting data from the Ministry of Health on frontline health workers for their coronavirus special allowance of 50 per cent of their basic salaries. 

A Deputy Finance Minister, Charles Adu-Boahen, yesterday told Parliament in Accra that his outfit had set aside GH¢80 million for that purpose awaiting data from the health ministry. 

“I wish to assure the House that adequate provisions have been made for this incentive package with the COVID-19 Alleviation Programme. 

“We have put aside approximately GH¢80 million for this response,” Mr Boahen said. 

He was responding to a question by Ho Central MP, Benjamin Komla Kpodo, who wanted to know when the beneficiaries would receive the money. 

According to Mr Boahen, there had been a challenge in identifying who a frontline health worker is. 

“The Ministry of Health alongside the Ministry of Finance are together compiling data and doing the necessary reconciliations especially to determine the particular workers who are qualified for this,” he told the House. 

In the absence of clarity on who is a frontline worker, Charles Adu Boahen said only the tax holiday introduced by government as part of the incentive is being enjoyed by all health workers in the meantime. 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in March this year announced the 50 per cent basic allowance pay rise for the health workers for the months of April, May and June as part of Ghana’s COVID-19 response package.

The package was, extended for three additional months as Ghana continues to battle the respiratory disease which has infected more than 17,000 people in the country.

In one of his televised addresses, President Akufo-Addo, noting that categorising who a frontline health worker has been difficult, said “I have been assured that they have been resolved and payments will be effected from the end of June.”

The President also announced a daily allowance of GH¢150 to all contact tracers. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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