More Ministers Grilled
THE APPOINTMENTS Committee of Parliament yesterday vetted the fourth batch of ministerial nominees including the first ever blind person nominated to be a minister of state in the country.
Dr. Henry Seidu Daannaa, a lawyer by profession, who is visually impaired, was nominated by President John Dramani
Mahama for the position of Minister for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs.
He appeared before the Appointments Committee, along with four other nominees.
The other ministerial nominees were Hanny-Sherry Ayittey for Ministry of Health; Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, Youth and Sports; Kwesi Ahwoi, Interior and Mark Woyongo, Defence.
The committee, chaired by First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ebo Barton-Odro, is expected to present a report on the nominees to the House for its consideration on Tuesday.
The Minister-designate for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs was quizzed on a wide range of issues bordering on his life experiences, academic background and policies he would initiate to address the challenges confronting the chieftaincy institution.
He assured members of the Appointments Committee that he would effectively handle the ministry regardless of his physical challenge, should he get parliamentary approval.
Dr. Daannaa added he would introduce pragmatic measures including effective dialogue to resolve the chieftaincy and traditional disputes in the country as well as ensure the nation’s customs and traditions were preserved and protected.
Accordingly, he advised the youth, especially the physically challenged, to be determined and not give up no matter the circumstances they found themselves in.
‘I encourage them to be motivated by what I have been able to achieve in life despite my visual impairment,’ Dr. Daannaa said.
To be able to effectively carry out his mandate, Dr. Daannaa hinted that he would push for increased budgetary allocation for his ministry to be able to initiate training programmes for the staff of the national and regional houses of chiefs.
Youth Unemployment Minister-designate for Youth and Sports Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, when he took his turn, said he was committed to introducing policies and programmes that would empower the youth to go into entrepreneurship to make them self employed.
Afriyie-Ankrah, a former deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, indicated that the move was intended to tackle the youth unemployment situation in the country, which had become a burden on the governments.
He pointed out that since jobs could not be created for all the youth in Ghana, there should be an effort to whip up confidence in all enterprising young individuals to go into entrepreneurship.
‘I will position young people to be able to develop self confidence and discover their purpose irrespective of their dispositions,’ Elvis stated, adding that the youth would be trained on the need to become self employed and self reliant without depending on anyone for job.
According to him, the issue of unemployment in the country would be substantially reduced if the youth began to engage in activities that would earn them income without depending on government for employment.
Sports Development Touching on sports, Afriyie-Ankrah advocated the introduction of a fund like the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund) to finance sporting activities in the country.
He said if approved by Parliament, he would help develop a culture of sports in the country.
According to him, policies would be rolled out to strengthen and promote sporting activities where the nation had competitive advantage like football, boxing and athletics.
Sherry Ayittey, Minister-designate for Health, promised to ensure that emergency service and trauma centres were established along highways and resourced with good medical and paramedical personnel to ensure that victims of accidents were effectively treated.
One-Time NHIS Premium Speaking on the one-time premium policy on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which the ruling National Democratic Congress promised in its 2008 manifesto, the minister-designate said although stakeholders in the health sector had recommended that the policy would not be feasible, she indicated that it was implementable under her leadership.
Ms. Ayittey said she would implement the policy by collaborating with the revenue collecting agencies and adopt measures to broaden the tax net in order to ensure that adequate funds were generated to finance the policy.
She promised that all bottlenecks in the implementation of the NHIS policy would be addressed to improve healthcare delivery in the country.
District and Regional Hospitals On how to increase access to healthcare, Ms Ayittey said district hospitals would be constructed and equipped in all the districts throughout the country to ensure that communities get access to quality healthcare.
She also announced that if given the nod, regional hospitals would be constructed in the Upper East and Upper West regions.
President John Mahama, then as vice president, cut the sod in 2010 for the construction of the Upper West regional hospital.
Three years on, the project is still at the sod-cutting stage, as government continues to make more promises concerning the proposed regional hospital.
Ms. Ayittey also gave the assurance that the Central Regional Hospital would be upgraded into a teaching hospital under
her leadership at the health ministry.
Kwesi Ahwoi and Mark Woyongo, Ministers-designate for the Interior and Defence respectively, were the last to be vetted yesterday.
By Awudu Mahama