President Akufo-Addo has announced the extension of incentive package for health workers by another three months. By implication, “this means that all health workers will pay no income taxes for the next three months, i.e. July, August and September”.
Again, he intimated that, “frontline health workers, as defined by the Ministry of Health, will continue to receive the additional allowance of fifty percent (50%) of their basic salary per month, i.e. for July, August and September”.
The President made these revelations during his 13th national address on Sunday, June 28, 2020, where he gave an update on Ghana’s responsive measures against the continuous rise in the number of COVID-19 infections in the country.
In his submission, the president admitted that the implementation has indeed been inundated with challenges especially with regards to who qualifies as a “frontline health worker”, although it has been resolved. He said, “I have, however, been assured that they have now been resolved, and payments will be effected from the end of June”.
According to him, the insurance package for health workers is still in place, further urged health workers to give their best.
“Whilst we appreciate the efforts of our health workers, I continue to urge them to remain professional and compassionate. Every avoidable death, be it corona-related or not, is a tragedy”.
First tranche of incentive package
Akufo-Addo first announced the incentive packages in April during his 5th address. There were some concerns however over who qualifies as a “frontline health worker” and deserving of the 50 per cent increment in stipend, with some health workers calling for a more inclusive approach. Although the free tax package has been implemented, that of the 50 percent allowance is yet to be carried out given the seeming controversy over the definition and qualification of a frontline health worker.
In his Sunday address however, the president said the issues have been rectified and roll out should commence soon, “I should reiterate that the insurance package for health workers is still in place”.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the incentives form 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.
“This is, in part, due to the immense dedication and hard work being exhibited by our healthcare workers, who continue to care for those affected by the virus, and for the sick in general.”
Accordingly, he also advised the general public to practice all safety protocols by saying, “let us wash our hands with soap under running water, use alcohol-based sanitizers, maintain the protocols on social distancing, avoid person to person contact, eat our local foods that boost our immune systems, and, yes, wear masks at all times when we leave our homes. These are the weapons of our battle”.