The government has reiterated its pledge to settle all frontline health workers with the necessary incentive packages set aside to cushion them during the coronavirus pandemic.
The President, Nana Akufo-Addo extended the tax rebate for all health workers at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight, which was initially for April, May and June, to the months of July, August and September.
The frontline health workers were to enjoy income-tax-free salaries and were to receive 50 percent of their basic salary as allowances for the months of April, May and June.
Additionally, the government had set aside an insurance package of GHS350,000 to cushion them.
These incentives formed part of the government’s commitment to ensuring that health workers are supported as they deliver essential services to the populace especially amidst the outbreak of coronavirus.
But although the free tax package was implemented, that of the 50 percent allowance was not carried out due to the seeming controversy over the definition and qualification of a frontline health worker.
The Controller and Accountant-General’s Department had even found difficulty in effecting the payment of the additional allowance and had to engage the Ministry of Health on the modalities for effecting payment.
But a Deputy Health Minister, Bernard Okoe Boye, in Parliament disclosed that the Ministry and all stakeholders had worked to resolve these issues.
According to him, those who really fit the qualifications prescribed for frontline health workers, which includes 6,000 persons so far, have already begun receiving the 50 percent basis salary top-up.
“The definition of frontline health workers as agreed on with relevant stakeholders is any health worker who has been involved in the management of a confirmed case of COVID-19. This list, which currently stands at approximately 6,000 workers is one that can change depending on cases confirmed in facilities and the number of people involved in the management. I am happy to mention that 6,000 health workers that were vetted and validated as having been in direct management of confirmed COVID-19 cases have had their 50% basic salaries for the month of April hit their accounts,” he said to the House on Monday.
“Any health worker that is determined as having managed a COVID-19 case but not being in the current list will be evaluated and captured in the reviewed list. The list is a dynamic one that changes with the current situation. The commitment to health workers by the Akufo-Addo government remains unadulterated, firm in its creation and focused on its efforts to overcome this pandemic. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Health and all relevant stakeholders have settled on who qualifies as a frontline worker,” the Minister added.
President Akufo-Addo in his 13th national address on Sunday, June 28, 2020, said the issues with the packages had been resolved with the rollout of the payment plan to begin soon.
An amount of GHS80 million was then set aside by the government to pay the frontline health workers their 50% special allowance.
A Deputy Minister of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen who disclosed this on July 1 had said the amount will be paid when the Ministry of Health presents data about the workers to the Ministry of Finance.
According to the Deputy Minister, although the amount had been earmarked, they could only begin payment after receiving data of the designated workers.