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‘I Prefer Drones Flying Medicines Than Investment In Guinea Fowls’ – Akufo Addo Shades Mahama   
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In what can best pass for a direct shade at former President John Mahama following his questioning of the current administration's decision to purchase drones for the health sector, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says he will rather spend on that intriguing and transformational idea of drones flying medicines to citizens than to invest in guinea fowls farming.

The Former president, addressing supporters and other National Democratic Congress (NDC) faithfuls at the International Trade Fair Center in Accra after filing his nomination Monday, criticised the Akufo-Addo government for its decision to use drones to deliver medical essentials, especially to remote areas in the country.

Not A Priority

He said the sector needs more urgent interventions than the Drone Delivery Service that the current administration is busying itself with introducing.

 “…instead of prioritizing the needs of the health sector, the NPP government chose to acquire drones to fly blood....Government should get its priorities right by spending the limited resources on more essential interventions other than copying innovations blindly without relevance to the realities of Ghana’s current needs,” Mr Mahama said.

But in a sharp riposte, President Akufo Addo, addressing journalists at the seat of government in his yearly presidential encounter with the media said; “I prefer drones flying to deliver essential medicines to our people that an investment in guinea fowls that allegedly fly to Burkina Faso any trace.” 

SADA's Guinea Fowl

In 2009, the then NDC government launched the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA); a programme meant to accelerate development in some of Ghana’s poor Regions.

Through the programme, government promised to put GH¢200 million as seed money to develop the aforementioned areas and also to put infrastructures in place to attract investors.

But later, Joy News investigations by Manasseh Azure in 2014, revealed massive rot at the Authority which had become a vehicle for severe mismanagement.

Further investigations by the Auditor-General confirmed that government wasted GH¢48 million into a Guinea Fowl rearing and Tree Planting projects.

There are no Guinea fowls to show for the investment and there was no value for money for the tree planting project.

Drones Backlash

The President's comment comes on the back of government’s $12.5 million agreement between US-based firm Zipline International Inc. and government of Ghana for the latter to distribute essential medical suppliers with the use of drones across the country.

The decision has been greeted with some protest from the Minority in Parliament and some Ghanaians who questioned the amount involved and source of funding the project.

Some critics were not happy the contract was sole-sourced when drone technology abounds in the world. Others were of the view that the project is ill-timed because the health sector us fraught with litany of issues that ought to be dealt with first.

Nonetheless, Parliament through Majority vote approved the contract, giving government the go ahead to execute same.

The president answered questions on the progress of his administration’s flagship programmes as well as queries on the current state of the economy.

This is the third time a similar event has taken place at the Jubilee House within the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.

A similar exercise was conducted in July 2017, and January 2018 where Nana Akufo-Addo promised to meet the journalists in the country every six months in the entire duration of his tenure as President.

'Not On Public Budget'

President Akufo-Addo further stated that the initiative will not be borne by the taxpayer.

This programme is NOT going to be run on the public budget. Corporate Social Responsibility contributions from private sector players will pay for the service. I prefer drones flying to deliver essential medicines to our people than an investment in guinea fowls that allegedly fly off to Burkina Faso without any trace,” President Akufo-Addo said.

He added that “the drone delivery service will save lives, decrease wastage in the system, guarantee healthcare access for more than 14 million people nationwide, and employ over two hundred (200) Ghanaians.”
Source: King Edward Ambrose Washman Addo/Peacefmonline.com/ Twitter: @Washman5/ Instagram: Ambrose_wash

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