Political scientist, Dr. Richard Amoako-Baah has questioned the logic behind President John Dramani Mahama’s decision to reinstate nurses’ trainee allowances with barely four months to a crucial general poll after the ruling party strenously justified the scrapping of the policy.
He believes it is not a “smart move to please the nurses after all these years” and accuses the government of indulging in “political posturing”.
Dr Amoako contends the current administration has proven it cannot be trusted by its decisions – and wonders which “rightful thinking person will vote for the president based on that”.
“…What were they (NDC) waiting for?” he quizzed.
Government announced last week to the shock of many, its plans to reintroduce allowances for nursing trainees.
The allowances were withdrawn some years back after government complained they limited intake by nursing training institutions.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.
Since the withdrawal, the government has lauded itself for taking a prudent decision which resulted in exponential growth in enrollment figures at nursing and teacher training schools across the country, thereby expanding access nursing and teacher training.
The opposition New Patriotic Party strongly kicked against the decision describing it as ‘senseless’ and imposed needless hardships on students and parents.
Its vice-presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has been campaigning tirelessly in nursing and teacher training institutions, promising that the allowances will be restored if given the opportunity to rule the country again.
But just last week, the health ministry issued a statement saying, “A Technical Committee set up by President John Mahama to review the issue of nursing students’ allowances has recommended the payment of an abated allowance with a possibility to migrate them onto the students Loan Scheme.”
“The payment which will amount to about GHC150 a month is aimed at supporting 34,500 students who are currently pursuing various levels of health professional training across the country,” Health Minister, Alex Segbefia explained.
“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 their education.”
However, speaking on NEAT FM’s morning show Ghana Montie Dr Amoako Baah noted that the approach by government will not inure to the benefit of the ruling party in this year’s polls.
“Why must they wait for them to strike before they heed to their plight? Reintroducing their allowance doesn’t mean they [nurses] are going to vote for him [Prez Mahama]. If you are a government you have to be proactive. It’s not all about money but sweet talks and good planning.”
“What government did is just a political posturing. And no rightful thinking person will vote for the president based on that,” he said..