By; Gifty Arthur
A former board chairman of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Tony Oteng Gyasi, has said the decision by the previous government to tax private tertiary education institution, was a misplaced one.
The one-time president of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), has therefore, called on the Akufo-Addo-led government, which has already announced a decision to remove the 25 percent tax on these private institutions, to ensure it works quickly to scrap the policy.
The Managing Director (MD) of Tropical Cables and Conductors Limited (TCCL) said this at the third matriculation ceremony of the Family Health Medical School at Teshie in Accra, where some 88 students, were admitted in to the first private medical school in the country, to study medicine.
Mr. Oteng-Gyasi, who praised highly the founder and president of the medical school, Prof. Enyonam Yaw Kwawukume, for establishing the school, said it was a step in the right direction that government has expressed commitment to do away with the policy, regardless of what the intentions were.
“I strongly urge government to follow through on this policy. Privately arranged education, at any level, is in the nature of what has become known as social enterprise.
It is a private sector assumption of responsibility for the provision of a public good, typically undertaken by government.
Whatever the perceived advantages obtained by the private promoters of such ventures, they are to be encouraged and nurtured rather than taxed”, he said.
The business mogul, who acknowledged there is a possibility of some private health institutions milking their clients, maintained it did not warrant the decision to tax them, at a time when government is unable to admit qualified applicants.
“I recognize the fact that some operators of such private institutions may be overly profit and dividend minded to the detriment of their schools and students. But the solution is not to tax the schools”.
Instead, he suggested that government put in place strong regulatory framework, for quality management of private schools, and ensure a minimum amount of reinvestment for expansion and infrastructure improvement.
He asked the students to be serious with their books and make use of the world class facility at their disposal and also ensure that they are not motivated by money when they start practicing.
He reminded the students to stay committed to their decision to become health professionals to help deliver quality healthcare to Ghanaians.
“I can assure you that if you succeed in your chosen profession, you are likely to be assured a reasonably comfortable life, but you are unlikely to become rich. And to achieve even that comfortable life, you will have to work very long hours of hard work.
To put it bluntly, if your measure of success is how much money you will make, then you are studying to be in the wrong profession. I invite you to walk away from this matriculation and go study investment banking or some of the money spinning professions.
Prof Kwawukume, welcomed the announcement by the government, adding if followed through, could go a long way to support the sector to produce quality medical professionals to assist in quality health delivery.
“It is another brilliant vision that he is got if we can do it, we can progress more and family health will become greater and so will other private institutions. It will reduce the burden on our universities”, he said.
Known to have performed the world’s first Bloodless Myomectomy at Caesarean Section with a tourniquet, Prof. Kwawukume, said the school was “Committed to ensuring that we leave no stone unturned in our response to your quest for knowledge and medical skills”, and that what was left was for them to make the best out of their calling.
The students, were tasked to make the best out of the training, since there are seasoned well selected Faculty comprising both high caliber local and foreign lecturers and professors.
“As I said before, you should make the most out of this opportunity, learn hard and challenge yourselves to be innovative. Do not forget to be caring towards the society you seek to heal and offer comfort from their ailments.
Among the 88 students admitted were nationals from Cameroun, Nigeria, Benin, United States of America (USA), Britain and Canada, as part of the school’s vision to take medical education to a whole new level not only in Ghana and West Africa, but the whole of Africa and beyond”.
The school offers a six-year Bachelor of Surgery, Bachelor of Medicine (MB ChB) programme, Four Year Medical programme for graduates with Science Background and Revision Course for Foreign Trained Medical Doctors.