President John Dramani Mahama has accused the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) of double-standards concerning their stance on his government’s removal of training allowances for teachers and nurses.
“The duplicity of the NPP is so appalling. History is a very important subject and you must always remember your past so that it guides you to the future,” Mr Mahama said in an interview with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s Sunrise FM in Koforidua as part of his tour of the Eastern Region.
Government replaced the allowances with student loans. Officialdom also said the allowances were scrapped, in the case of teachers, as a way of circumventing the quota system which put a cap on admissions.
The NPP has always accused the Mahama administration of not having the interest of nurses and teachers at heart thus the removal of the allowances.
But Mr Mahama insists that the NPP is being deceitful and dishonest. According to him, a document dated 9th June 2008 concerning guidelines and preparations for the 2009 budget signed by then Deputy Minister of Health, under the erstwhile Agyekum Kufour administration suggested that: “The management of the wage component has been a major challenge and to face the challenge… trainee allowance to the new entrants for the Diploma Programmes in the various training institutions will be abolished. Allowances to the continuing students will also be phased out. All students will be encouraged to seek funding under the student loan scheme”.
“Today, the same NPP party turns around and says that we are wicked to remove trainee allowances”.
He added that in 2008 under then Minister of Education, Dr Baah Wiredu, a document indicated that “they had budgeted for 245,000 teachers and they said that: ‘Do not employ any teacher above the 245,000 teachers’ and that if you employ, they will not pay”. “It seems the NPP has forgotten its past and because of opportunism of trying to win political power, you [NPP] just come and make criticisms,” he added.
Mr Mahama stressed that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has employed an unprecedented number of teachers and nurses in the country.
According to him, “from 2009 till date, this government has employed 78, 000 teachers – unprecedented – the highest number in the history of the country. From 2013, when I became president, we have employed 23,000 nurses – unprecedented – the highest number ever in the history of this country”.
For him, the facts do not support criticisms that his government has failed to provide jobs for teachers and nurses.