Ghana

Sanction delay in delivering public service

 The efforts of the govern­ment in ensuring the good health of the people are not in doubt.

However, certain things going on in the health sector take the shine out of these efforts.

One such thing is the delay in clearing imported health items from the ports in good time.

What is worrying about the situation is that in spite of the items coming in the name of the state Ghana, the delay in clearing them attracts demurrage and other charges.

Some of us are worried that such items are left at the ports longer than their allotted free time, or past the “Last Free Day” for containers holding the items to attract demurrage charges, which begin accruing the day after the last free day until the containers are picked.

We have been forced to talk about the subject of the delay in clearing good meant for the state because of the release of GH¢7.4 million from the Ministry of Finance to cover outstanding charges relating to 64 containers of medical supplies, devices and equipment that have been locked up at the Tema Port since May last year.

This means the items have been at the port for not less than 13 months and now are expected to be cleared by the end of June 2024.

The release of the funds would have become a commended act but in the present circumstanc­es, the act has to be criticised in spite of all the reasons that can be given for the delay.

And we would deem all the reasons flimsy, first because it took health-focused civil society organisations to mount pressure on the government for the release of the medicines essential for treating diseases.

Second, we do not understand why it took the Ministry of Fi­nance that long time to “unwill­ingly” to act for the outstanding 64 out of a total of 283 contain­ers of various medical com­modities from the Global Fund shipped to the country through the Tema port.

We are using the expression “unwillingly” because from all indications, there have been some dragging of feet somewhere in the whole process.

What caused those public officials to drag their feet?

If truly some people dragged their feet in this matter, then they must be sanctioned.

This is because they have caused the country to incur more expenses, which is our last reason why the release of the money to clear the medical items at this time cannot be commended.

Third, the delay might have also reduced the lifespan of the medicines among the items.

We are not oblivious to the fact that there is bureaucracy in the system, which is acceptable for the purposes of checks and balances.

However, it appears some public officials are exploiting that to oil their own selfish instincts or to display self-aggrandisement through making others feel they depend on them in what they are supposed to accomplish.

One way duty bearers have to prove to the people that they have them at heart is to serve them timely, which is also a way of being accountable to them.

If the country is to progress, then delays in discharging

public service must be sanc­tioned and sanctioned severely to save the country some funds and good image among its own citi­zens and the comity of nations.