The decision of the John Dramani Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC), to reintroduce t...
The decision of the John Dramani Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC), to reintroduce the halted allowances for student nurses barely five months to elections, is one of the many signs of an incumbent sensing defeat, yet fails to realize it; that’s according to the New Patriotic Party’s MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, Emmanuel Kyeremanten Agyarko.
Mr. Agyarko, who made the assertion on Citi FM’s news and current affairs programme, ‘The Big Issue’ on Saturday, said the NDC is clearly about to repeat the mistakes of the then NPP administration led by former President Kufuor in 2008, which led to the party’s defeat.
“This thing about restored trainee allowances for nursing students reminds me of what happened to us [NPP] in 2008. I am being very political about this matter. When you are losing power, you don’t even realize that the thing is going away from you.”
Emmanuel Kyeremanten Agyarko
“In 2008, I can cite two instances. We had passed a law which was a very good law to check the deaths on our roads. So we had passed a law and arrested taxi drivers, who were prosecuted and put in jail. I was a parliamentary candidate then in the Lower Manya Krobo District and the argument was that we were doing the right thing and safeguarding the people’s interest. The thing did a lot to us and when the elections approached and we realized the impact, we said we will release the people and the Attorney General did something and all the people were released. It is the same thing this people are doing.”
He added that, “We also had to reduce fuel prices when the election went into a second round, even though Ghanaians had called for a reduction in the fuel prices. Just as I am hearing that from the nurses asking whether it was indeed possible for them to be given the allowances. The problem I have is that, so when they were taking the decision and announcing it, didn’t they know? This is what I don’t understand about this NDC government under President John Mahama.”
‘Scraped’ allowances to be restored
A technical committee set up by the President to review allowances for nursing trainees, on Thursday recommended payment of the abated allowance with a possibility to migrate them unto the Students Loan Scheme.
The allowances had initially been scrapped in order to improve admission into the various training institutions by removing the restrictions on admissions due to the huge amount paid on allowances.
The trainee widely opposed the move leading to the setting up of a committee to assess the situation and advise on the way forward. The Committee recommended that the 34,500 students in the health professional training across the country will receive a payment of GHc 150 a month.
The statement said “the payment amount would serve as a bridging mechanism pending the amendment of the Students Loan Trust Act, to enable students in non-tertiary health training institutions access loans to support education.”
Restoring allowance political gimmick – Boakye Agyarko
The Policy Adviser of the NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo Addo, Boakye Agyarko, has said the move seeks to pander to the public in order to secure votes for the elections.
According to him, by this move the government is clearly growing increasingly desperate to win over voters. The NPP, which has criticized government for scrapping the allowances, has promised to restore it when voted into office.
Is Mahama ‘overspending’ in election year for votes?
In November 2015, Finance Minister Seth Terkpeh, told Parliament during the 2016 Budget Presentation, that government had put in place sufficient measures against overspending this election year.
Prior to this, the International Monetary Fund, IMF, Ghana’s civil society groups, and the business sector, had expressed worry that any budgetary overrun would result in deficits, and subsequently, further taxation.
President Mahama had, thereafter, repeatedly promised to resist any temptation to overspend this election year.
But following a string of spending decisions being taken by government with barely five month to the polls, one wonders whether the President is backtracking on his word.