Sell UG Medical Centre to Private Entity – Casely-Hayford
Following the tussle between University of Ghana and government over the $217 million University of Ghana Medical Centre, anti corruption campaigner, Sydney Casely Hayford has suggested that the facility should be sold to a private entity to ensure its efficient management.
Sources closely involved with the project had early on revealed to Citi News that an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Health and the University of Ghana in 2015, which gave ownership of the $217 million facility to the university.
Following this agreement, the university established a company, the University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC) Limited to serve as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will oversee the operations of the facility.
But the Ministry of Health in recent times, is laying claim to the facility, leading to uncertainty over who has the responsibility to manage the centre.
Mr. Casely Hayford on Citi FM’s News Analysis Programme, The Big Issue, said a decision to sell the facility to a private entity will resolve the impasse between the two parties.
“Sell the facility to a private institution and let them brand it. They [UG] have set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). The SPV is suppose to take over and run it as a private company but it will not work because government still wants a part of the pie,” he suggested.
He also wondered why the Public Services Commission and Parliament had not yet summoned the University of Ghana and the Ministry over the issue.
“The Public Services Commission should call government and the University of Ghana and sort the issue. This thing has been raging from time to time but who is responsible? Which institution or body is responsible? If it is Public Services Commission, what are they sitting down doing when we have a facility that is going to waste? Exactly what is Parliament doing?
“Isn’t there a sub committee in Parliament responsible for healthcare so why have they not been called to book? Why has Parliament not summoned the University of Ghana people and the government and sat them down and said; you must solve this problem, we are giving you 30 days. “
Mr. Hayford’s suggestion comes a day after the Ghana Medical Association [GMA] called on President Nana Akufo-Addo to bring an end to what it described as the “unhealthy tussle” over the facility.
The UG Medical Centre, which has its first phase completed and ready to commence operations, was inaugurated by former President John Mahama in 2016.
Whereas the University believes processes leading to the construction of the facility gives it a direct oversight role of the Medical Centre, the current Ministry of Health under the Akufo-Addo government thinks otherwise.
A Deputy Minister of Health, Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, had earlier said government currently needs about $6 million to make the facility operational, and an additional $50 million to complete the phase two of the project.
Fight for UG Medical centre
The immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, has also charged the current university administration to fight to ensure that they have overall control of the Medical Centre.
“The University needs to stand up and fight for what is rightfully its property,” he noted in a Citi News interview.
1,400 staff were shortlisted
A former Deputy Health Minister, Rojo Mettle Nunoo recently said about 1,400 personnel had already been shortlisted and ready to be recruited as staff of the Medical Centre before the John Mahama administration was kicked out of office.
According to him, a total of 28,000 applied to work for the Centre, out of which 1,400 were selected.
Mr. Nunoo said the previous government had an adequate plan in place on the way forward for the Centre, adding that all was set for the facility to be operational before the NDC left office.
“Government will pay salaries so we got the Public Service Commission to agree to the establishment of the hospital and 28,000 people applied to be staff of the hospital. We did interviews and the first round of over 1,400 or so people were identified and appointment letters were going to be given. The Fair Wages Commission had also agreed with the salary structure of the hospital and given approval,” he said in a Citi News interview last week.
Citi News has in the last few days also exposed a number of health projects undertaken by successive governments which cost the taxpayer several millions of dollars but have been abandoned.