General News of Wednesday, 15 March 2017
Over 200 trainee nurses have besieged the premises of the Health Ministry demanding the suspension of a freeze on hiring.
The chanting nurses who came from different parts of the country for the picket have vowed to remain at the precincts of the Ministry until the ban is lifted.
Some of them told Joy News’ Matilda Wemegah they have been home for well over two years thanks to the freeze on employment in the health sector.
The protesters claimed that the freeze was one of the conditionalities of government’s extended credit agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The former Finance Minister Seth Terkper had insisted that reports of a total freeze on employment in the public sector were false.
On April 1, 2014 he told Parliament, as part of measures to rationalize government expenditure in 2014, the government will continue its policy of a net freeze on employment into some sectors of the public service.
The policy required that there will be no employment until or unless there are vacancies created by retirement of staff in the health and education sectors.
The policy appears to be having serious effects on the health sector, particularly on trainee nurses who have completed their training but cannot be employed.
As early as 8:00am Monday, the nurses, clad in red and wearing red armbands and gears and with bed sheets and mattresses found their way to the precincts of the health ministry, swearing to turn the health ministry into their homes if the officials do not lift the ban on employment.
Some of them told Joy News Matilda Wemegah until the ban is lifted they will continue to sleep at the forecourt of the ministry.
It is the first industrial agitation the Nana Akufo-Addo administration has to contend with after taking over the reins of government on January 7, 2017.
According to Wemegah, the Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu was not in the office but the police were present, attempting to restore calm.