The National Youth Organiser of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Henry Nana Boakye (Nana B), is wondering if the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has “lost its senses” following former President John Mahama’s recent U-turn regarding the cancellation of allowances for trainee teachers and nurses.
The NDC flag bearer said he will maintain the allowances should he win the December 2020 polls, despite cancelling same while he was president.
Mr Mahama scrapped the allowances in 2014 during his first tenure of office and said in the run-up to the 2016 elections that he would rather lose the election on principle than reinstate the allowances.
In his recent Zoom interaction with Ghanaians, however, the flag bearer of the biggest opposition party, in an answer to one of his interlocutors, said: “You know that it [allowance cancellation] was a very critical issue in the run-up to the 2016 elections”.
“What I had said was we were going to migrate the health trainees and educational trainees to the student loan scheme”, he explained, adding: “Now, what I have said going up to the 2020 elections is that, we are going to let the status quo remain”.
“It means that we are going to continue paying trainee allowances, but we will improve the student loan and adapt it so that it serves the same purpose as the allowances,” Mr Mahama said.
“So, we will increase the amount under the Student Loan Trust [Fund] and then instead of giving it to you as a lump sum, we will give it to you at regular intervals so that you continue to use it for the things you use it for.
“So, once we have done it and it’s attractive and it’s good enough for you, then we will now do the migration onto the student loan scheme. So, for now, if I become the President on January 7, 2021, we will maintain the status quo. It means that, we will continue to pay the allowances and when we have improved and made it attractive for all students to go for it, then we will now do the migration onto the student loan scheme. So, that’s my position on it as of now.”
Reacting to Mr Mahama’s comment, Mr Boakye, in a statement, recalled that: “Indeed, in the face of mounting agitations on the matter, then-President Mahama called the bluff of everyone and in blazing arrogance, told the Ghanaian people publicly that: ‘I will never restore the allowances to trainees even if it will cost me the elections. We’ll not reverse the decision’”.
He said the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, is on record to have said that: ‘There is no sense in paying teacher trainee allowance’.
“Now, what has changed? Has the NDC, per the logic of Asiedu Nketiah, lost their senses to want to allow the status quo to remain?”, Mr Boakye asked.
“Obviously, it has taken the excruciating and humiliating defeat the NDC suffered in the 2016 elections for sound judgment to prevail on this matter and for John Mahama to reconsider the notorious decision he took on teacher and nursing trainee allowances as President of the Republic”, he said.
Read full statement below:
MAHAMA’S SUDDEN U-TURN ON TRAINEES ALLOWANCE SMACKS OF DECEPTION AND CONFUSION; THE YOUTH CAN NEVER BE HOODWINKED
Former President Mahama in recent media interactions is reported to have said that he will sustain the payment of allowances to trainee teachers and nurses in the unlikely event that he becomes President in 2021.
Inasmuch as we find the sudden U-turn by Mr Mahama on this important national issue curious, it brings closure to the political debate on the matter and vindicates the decision by the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government to restore teacher and nursing trainee allowances.
However, the youth of this country cannot forget the intransigence of the erstwhile Mahama administration on this matter and the sheer callousness that characterised the NDC’s decision to cancel the trainee allowances.
At the time ‘Dumsor-Dumsor’ was killing local businesses with Ghanaians reeling under the many terrible economic decisions of the NDC government, John Mahama decided to cancel the allowances which hitherto eased the burden on teacher and nursing trainees.
Not even the chagrin and cries of these frustrated trainees could make the Mahama regime reconsider that terrible decision.
Indeed, in the face of mounting agitations on the matter, then President Mahama called the bluff of everyone and in blazing arrogance, told the Ghanaian people publicly that: “I will never restore the allowances to trainees even if it will cost me the elections. We’ll not reverse the decision”. The General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, is on record to have said that: “There is no sense in paying teacher trainee allowance”.
Now, what has changed? Has the NDC, per the logic of Asiedu Nketiah, lost their senses to want to allow the status quo to remain?
Obviously, it has taken the excruciating and humiliating defeat the NDC suffered in the 2016 elections for sound judgment to prevail on this matter and for John Mahama to reconsider the notorious decision he took on teacher and nursing trainee allowances as President of the Republic.
The National Youth Wing of the NPP would want to remind former President Mahama that the Ghanaian people are very conscious of the antics and schemes the NDC is employing in their hunger for power. Never again would the youth of our country be hoodwinked by empty, lofty and desperate assurances of a group of people whose main aim is to win political power and preside over the wanton dissipation of our country’s resources. The NPP government under the sterling leadership of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has remained trustworthy, candid and faithful to trainee teachers and nurses, through and through.
Since the restoration of the trainee allowances in September 2017, about 200,000 trainees have benefited from the life-saving monthly stipends.
In the 2020 fiscal year alone, GHS357 million is being paid to 48,000 teacher trainees whereas GHS336 million is being paid to over 49,000 trainee nurses as allowances.
Between September 2017 and January 2020, at least, a whopping GHS1 billion has been paid to trainee nurses and teachers in the form of allowance. Whereas Mr Mahama, in his days as Vice President and President, prioritised investment in dubious and corrupt schemes, President Akufo-Addo on the other hand, has invested wisely and massively in educating the youth for a prosperous future.
Trainee teachers and nurses are well aware of John Mahama’s record in government and would vote wisely for President Akufo-Addo in the impending general elections to protect their allowances.
Henry Nana Boakye (Esq.)
(National Youth Organiser, NPP).