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Gov't will provide alternatives for private entities to partake in free transport for health workers initiative - Oppong Nkrumah 

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
Minister for Information Oppong Nkrumah
Minister for Information Oppong Nkrumah

Government is working to make available alternative transport companies that will help private entities to also provide free transport services for health workers in the Covid-19 fight.

This is according to the Minister for Information, Oppong Nkrumah who believes this move will allow private companies to complement the work of the government.

Citi TV yesterday cancelled their planned free bus service for health workers in the Greater Accra Region at last hour scheduled to commence today Monday, April 6, 2020.

The management of the station decided to cancel the initiative after the operators of the Aayalolo Bus Service – The Greater Accra Passenger Transport Executive (GAPTE) communicated to the station via an email at 4 pm on Sunday to indicate that the buses, would no longer be available for planned service, following a government directive to the company to deploy all their buses within the lockdown area.

The communication to withdraw the service came several hours after Citi TV staff, branded the Aayalolo buses under the supervision of the GAPTE officials.

President Akfu-Addo during his late-night address also announced free bus service for health workers among other incentives.

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Many were earlier unhappy with the decision of GAPTE to withdraw their buses. Some noted that the Citi TV initiative could have been made part of government's exercise.

Explaining the circumstances leading to the withdrawal of the buses, Oppong Nkrumah first commended the initiative.

He stated that the withdrawal had the potential to create the impression that government is competing or having challenges.

"...first of all Citi TV must be commended for this initiative and indeed the many other initiatives you led in being responsible as a corporate entity, it is the commendable thing that you don't need to stop. Secondly is unfortunate how the logistical arrangement I think for this intervention that Citi seeks to do has been handled in the final bit, it has the potential to create the impression as though we are either competing or we are having some challenges which ought not to be the case. It is true that it has come to my attention that Citi announced on Thursday that you were also going to provide support of some buses to assist health workers as part of activities to help the Covid-19 fight.

According to him, the Ministers for Finance and Transport were earlier directed to resolve the issues of Aayololo after they suspended their services last week and as a result of that directive the issues have been solved leading to the redeployment of the buses.

"You will recall that earlier the Minister for Transport had brief the country about various interventions that they are putting in place and had mentioned that the Aayalolo buses are supposed to be made available to support in the various interventions and then by Thursday or Friday Aayalolo suspended their services, I was behind the podium at my press briefing when it was raised and I recall saying that the Ministers for finance and transport have been instructed to work together to resolve that challenge.

"The brief I have is that it is out of this intervention that they are making available the buses generally to provide free transport for health workers on the general buses but they have also designated some 15 buses in Greater Accra dedicated to helping health workers plying separate routs..." he added.

He concluded that other arrangements are being made for private entities to equally support the programme.

"We are working to achieve the same objective, I think we should be able to work together make some alternate transport companies buses available so that what Citi wants to do compliment what the state is doing doesn't have to fall out of place..."e