The NPP MPs on Parliament’s Health Committee have chastised the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama, for describing government's Agenda 111 project as unrealistic and overly ambitious.

This follows concerns raised by Mr. Mahama during a discussion with the clergy in Accra.

According to Mr Mahama, the construction of over 80 hospitals simultaneously without a clear and sustainable source of funding is unreasonable.

He, therefore, proposed an alternative approach, suggesting that it would have been more sensible to begin with a smaller number, such as 40 hospitals, ensuring their completion before initiating further projects.

However, the Chairman of the Health Committee, Dr Nana Afriyie Ayew, says the NPP did not expect such comments from the leader of the NDC.

He argued that for the former President to describe the Agenda 111 policy as ambitious is an attack on the NDC's manifesto since the party has also indicated its intention to construct over 80 hospitals.

“We did not expect the former President to join in the chorus of those attacking Agenda 111. So if you call this as over-ambitious project, if you call this as unrealistic, then it is an attack on the manifesto of the NDC.

“That the NDC's manifesto was over-ambitious, unrealistic, full of lies, and deceit. Because if you say what you mean, and you mean what you say, you don't forget it at any point in time. Your boys in your party would go and make politics out of it, but you the leader, you don't take that route because of the manifesto,” he said.

Dr Ayew explained that, the NDC had pledged to construct 88 hospitals, but the NPP only decided to construct a bit more.

 “So, if you said you were going to do 88 hospitals, and NPP said it was going to be 111, then what makes this unrealistic and over-ambitious? The former president has been disingenuous, he is being inconsistent, just saying things, just going away,” he said.

Additionally, he advised the NDC flagbearer to move past this type of politics.

“We've passed that stage. We should be a bit scientific, we should mean what we say. And if you are not able to do that, it doesn't mean when your opponent does it, it means it's not good for the country. We should go past this sort of politicking,” he added.

On his part, the Minority Spokesperson on Health, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, argued that all the documents presented by the government to the committee showed that the project is not feasible.

He said when the project plan was presented to the committee, it was estimated to cost the country some GH₵1.7 billion.

However, the country did not have a specific source of funding for the amount needed.

Mr. Akandoh explained that, the secretariat of the Agenda 111 had said the project would be completed by the year 2027 by which time President Akufo-Addo would be out of office, hence the need for Mr Mahama to share his opinion on the project.

“Number one, the whole project is estimated at GH₵1.7 billion.... take note of the figures. As of the last time the Agenda 111 Secretariat appeared before the committee, they had distributed or disbursed GH₵251 million out of the GH₵1.7 billion.

“So even the Agenda 111 Secretariat is complaining they are not getting a source of funding. What they are saying is that they can finish 30% of the project in 2027 when His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will not be the president of Ghana.

“They will finish the rest of the 30% after 2027. So why would a President go and give a promise that, 'I would deliver 111 hospitals before 2025' and it is estimated to be completed after 2027? Isn't it overly ambitious?” he said.

Additionally, he stressed that it was not wrong for the government to admit that it would not be able to fulfill its promises and therefore would reduce the number of hospitals intended to construct.

“If you know you can complete let's say 40 or 20, what prevents you from telling us that this is what I'm going to do? Why will you come and deceive the people of this country? As I speak to you now, we don't have a reliable or dedicated source of funding for that project.

“So let us not shift the goal posts. Nobody should go and set his own questions and attempt to answer them. Let us be within the context. What is President Mahama saying? President Mahama is saying that it is overly ambitious and unrealistic.

“What are they saying in this document? They are saying it is overly ambitious and unrealistic,” he added.

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