Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has asserted that the government is doing some "election mathematics" by restoring the allowances of nursing trainees.
President John Dramani Mahama, on Tuesday announced that his administration will restore scrapped allowances of trainee nurses.
He also revealed that new trainee nurses who are yet to be put on the students loan scheme will be placed on the cancelled nurses allowance scheme.
This is in spite of his (President Mahama's) earlier assertions that his administration was not going to restore the allowance even if it meant the NDC losing the 2016 election.
According to the president, a technical committee set up to review allowances for nursing trainees has recommended payment of an abated allowance with a possibility to migrate them onto the Students Loan Scheme.
Addressing trainee nurses as part of his five day campaign tour in the Brong Ahafo region, he said; “the committee recommended that since we are yet to amend the law to put our nursing and midwifery students on the students loan scheme, we should also put them on the allowance.”
The allowances were withdrawn a few years back after government complained they limited intake by nursing training institutions. It was further argued that it was unfair for nursing and teacher trainees to receive allowances when other tertiary students didn’t enjoy same.
It was however, met with much resistance from some students who rely on the allowances to support themselves in school.
The opposition New Patriotic Party also waded into the fray.
Running mate to the NPP's Flagbearer, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, in reiterating the party's position to restore the allowances for trainee nurses and teachers when voted into power, said governtment's decision to scrap them was senseless and imposed needless hardships on students and parents.
Since the withdrawal, the government has been praising itself for taking a prudent decision which resulted in an exponential growth in enrollment figures at nursing and teacher training schools across the country, thereby expanding access nursing and teacher training.
But it appears the agitations borne fruit with the setting up of a committee to advise on a more favorable resolution for the trainee nurses.
Per the committee’s recommendation, 34,500 students who are currently pursuing various levels of health professional training across the country will receive a payment of GHc 150 a month.
Speaking to the issue on PeaceFM's "Kokrokoo" Wednesday, the senior journalist said; “It’s clear-cut that there’s some election mathematics going on…when your message is no loud and clear, it’s not clear. When it’s clumsy, that’s what happens; no coherence."
Staring Defeat In The Face?
Another co-panelist on the show, Kwamena Duncan, who is the Central Regional Secretary of the NPP, opined that the decision smacks of a government growing increasingly desperate to win over voters.
He held strongly that the move is simply to pander to the public in order to secure votes for the elections.
Questioning the logic in government's decision to scrap the allowances a couple of years ago and reintroduced them barely two months to a general election, Kwamena Duncan urged Ghanaians, particularly nurses, not to fall for the tricks of the Mahama administration.
“...it is so clear; so obvious. There’s no doubt about it…I am telling you they’re seeing defeat looking them in the face. And that is why they’re doing all the things that they’re doing but it is already gone. As for the NDC's case, it is no longer tenable,” he stated.
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