Politics of Monday, 19 September 2016
Students in Ghana’s senior high schools only enjoy GHS38 as subsidy under President John Mahama’s progressively free SHS programme, Mr Boakye Agyarko, Policy Adviser to the New Patriotic Party’s flag bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, has said.
At a press conference in Accra on Monday, 19 September, Mr Agyarko said: “Schools are reopening this September and parents are struggling to pay fees for their children. Parents may recall Mahama and the NDC screaming in 2012 from the rooftops that Free SHS was impossible and soon after the NDC was elected saying it now was and that they would introduce it progressively. And then they set out to implement a watered-down version.
“The 2016 Education Sector report captures exactly how badly they have done: ‘The first disbursement of funds for the first term of the 2015/16 academic year was completed in September 2015 with 320,488 day students across the country supported at a cost of GHS 12,178,544.00. Disbursement of funds were made to SHS2 and SHS3 students as SHS1 students had not been placed in schools at the time of payment.’
“So the NDC gives 320,488 day students a mere 38 cedis for the entire academic year to offset government-approved fees of 420 cedis per year? This 38 cedis is not even 10 per cent of the approved fees. Meanwhile, day students who entered Form 1 last year did not benefit from this policy. Who are the NDC trying to fool? Stealing ideas they cannot implement and by so doing impoverishing Ghanaians even more.”
Speaking about the unemployment situation in the country, Mr Agyarko said: “In today’s Ghana, with so much suffering and hardship, nothing shows that John Mahama has put Ghanaians first. After all, today, they pay more for their electricity than their rent. They bear testimony to how four years of ‘dumsor’ destroyed their small businesses.”
He said: “Ghana’s young people have lived the nightmare of searching for non-existent jobs, a situation that has led to nearly half of that population being jobless.
“A government that puts people first is a government with competence, compassion, foresight, discipline and integrity to implement policies that will help create jobs and not one that will kill jobs with poor policies. It cannot be disputed that President Mahama has made Ghanaians poorer.
“The prices of everyday items have skyrocketed under John Mahama. The price of a gallon of petrol has gone from GHS3 to GHS16. Bread has moved from GHS2 to GHS7, milk from GHS1 to GHS3, kenkey from 30 pesewas to GHS2, fish from 50 pesewas to GHS2, sachet water from five pesewas to 20 pesewas, and a bag of cement from GHS12 to GHS32.
“It is evident that the John Mahama government is not one that can be trusted to put people first. A government that puts corruption first can only pay lip service to putting Ghanaians first.”