The National Democratic Congress (NDC) government will not scrap the payment of allowances to trainee nurses and teachers should it assume office in 2021, its flagbearer has served notice.
Many Ghanaians, were sharply divided prior to the 2016 polls, when the issue of allowances for trainee teachers and nurses became a major campaign debate.
Mr John Mahama, who was president at the time was heavily criticised when he refused to back down on the decision. He insisted that the decision allowed his government to expand various health and educational infrastructure in the country as well as remove the restrictions on admissions to the various training institutions.
“On the matter of trainee teacher allowances, better to lose on principle than win using falsehood. We’ll not reverse the decision,” Mr Mahama had said in a tweet on September 8, 2016, during a forum at the University of Cape Coast.
The decision was, however, reversed when the Akufo-Addo-led administration assumed office in 2017.
Speaking during one of his interactive digital conversations dubbed ‘Let’s talk with JM’, the NDC leader, this time round said his government won’t cancel the allowances should he become President in 2021.
“You know that it 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. 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.”
“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,” he further continued.
By Jonathan Ofori, Daily Mail GH