The Executive President of the Ghana Baptist Convention (GBC), Reverend Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, has tasked the government to, as a matter of urgency, complete all neglected health facilities in the country.
He expressed the hope that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akofu-Addo will uphold his pledge to complete all abandoned projects despite the agitations from other quarters.
“Governments come and go, but every project is eventually paid with the Ghanaian taxpayers’ money and Ghanaians must not suffer the losses,” he said.
Rev Adu-Gyamfi was speaking at the 55th Annual Session of the GBC on the theme: “Kingdom Loyalty for Accelerated Development at Ejura in the Ashanti Region.
The annual session brought together senior pastors of the GBC across the country and some parts of the sub-Saharan to deliberate on issues affecting the convention.
He said in the last four months, the GBC has had to start operating a new Baptist health facility at Nvulenu, pending the official commissioning of the facility, adding that within one month of operation, the facility has witnessed four safe deliveries.
“Currently, the facility laboratory service is the best in the whole area serving the Ellembele and Jomoro districts,” he said.
Rev Adu-Gyamfi announced that in the past year, the GBC had received accreditation and pay-roll mechanisation for seven new Baptist Health Services facilities by the Christian Health Association of Ghana and Government of Ghana.
He said it was noteworthy to say that churches operate in areas where regular governmental facilities were not available and that these were complementing government efforts and meeting the health needs of the country’s rural community.
To this end, the executive president congratulated the government for successfully implementing the first year of the free senior high school policy despite the challenges during the implementation process.
“I believe the free SHS project is one of the most far-reaching social intervention programmes the country is currently witnessing.”
He said the GBC, and for that matter Ghana, will be hosting this year’s All African Baptist Fellowship Western Region Women’s Conference.
Rev Adu-Gyamfi announced that the GBC had established the Shalom Broadcasting Network, a television station not only to meet it core mandate of evangelism but also to use the platform to share religious and faith-based news.
Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) who was the Special Guest, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, recounted some historical antecedents of taxation of religious organisations in the country.
He said the 1947 Ordinance outlined the first provision of exemption of tax by charitable organisations including religious organisations, which specifically exempted religious bodies from paying duties on imported items.
According to him, these tax exemptions were in recognition of the contributions made by the religious organisations in society as they prioritised the helping of the poor and needy whilst lifting the spiritual welfare of the people.
He said the Income Tax Degree, 1975; S.M.C.D 5 maintained the tax exemption status for religious organisations under Section 3(1)(d) but limited tax exemptions to the Christian church with regard to their income other than derived from business.
Mr Nti said churches have been in the forefront of societal transformation and that before and after independence churches played a significant role in the emancipation of the people when it came to the subject of education.
“Churches provide the setting for the development of the nation’s human capital through the provision of schools and led the society in meeting its socio-economic needs.”
He said there was the need for pastors to build the loyalty of their church members by encouraging them, recognising exemplary services and having strategic sustainable approach, which has a footprint in the lives of their members.
The commissioner general said the GBC is a one big family, which needs to be fair to its members of the family, adding that, the leadership must have a programme to know and experience the working environment and activities of the pastors.
Story: Kwamena ANANSE
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