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General News of Saturday, 23 July 2016


Restoring nursing trainee allowance political gimmick – Boakye Agyarko

Following an announcement by government to restore the payment of allowances to nursing trainees, the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), has suggested that it is a move to pander to the public in order to secure votes for the elections.

According to Boakye Agyarko, the policy adviser of the NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo Addo, the decision to restore the allowances was unsurprising with about four months to go to the polls. According to him, by this move is clearly growing increasingly desperate to win over voters.

“How come that Asiedu Nketiah has been rubbishing the payment of student allowance? Now a president who has signed an IMF agreement to tighten the belts on the national purse and keeps on reminding the nation that under no circumstance will he allow budget overruns and then suddenly for political gains, does a U-turn through a very obscure statement. It’s a pure political gimmick and I don’t believe that anything will come out of it,” Boakye Agyarko said on Eyewitness News.

He stated that, the new policy was ‘doomed’ to fail and that the government would be unable to sustain the allowances as it has come under intense pressure from other sectors for failing to make the necessary statutory payments. “There are newly-hired nurses who have not been paid.

There and qualified nurses and teachers who are sitting at home and have not been employed because government doesn’t have the money to employ them.

There are Secondary Schools now who’s feeding allowances are still outstanding. So what is going to happen to all of them?” he quizzed.

“Government is not thinking coherently through its public responsibility of disbursing the public money. This is a knee-jerk reaction intended to blunt the very positive response that the nurses and teachers and students are giving to our commitment of restoring their allowances,”he said.

Mr. Agyarko downplayed suggestions the NPP is agitated only because they have been weakened politically by the reintroduction of the allowance which they had been promising to restore.

He said an NPP administration, will restore the allowance in full instead of the half-baked approach government is seeking to use.

‘Scraped’ allowances to be restored A technical committee set up by the President to review allowances for nursing trainees, on Thursday recommended payment of an 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 Committeee 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.”