A former Member of Parliament (MP) for Zebila, John Ndebugri, is obviously not happy the Akufo-Addo government has honoured it campaign promise by restoring the scraped nursing trainee allowance. Blow is what he says about the decision:
Nursing and midwifery trainees applauded His Excellency NADAA for the restoration of their allowances which was scrapped by the erstwhile JM led administration for good policy reasons. From where I sat, I felt very sad for the trainees and our beloved country Ghana.
I will venture to espouse my reasons for feeling sad devoid of political emotions. The restoration of the allowances serious consequences worthy of pointing out. Arguably, I would have been naturally happy if were in the shoes of the trainees but this happiness is illusory and in disguise.
The implication of the restoration of the allowances first will mean that the trainees will enjoy the allowance while in school but will come and stay home jobless. It’s paradoxical to note that government can pay the trainees allowances but cannot raise money to employ them and pay them.
This is akin to signing one’s own death warrant. Secondly, the restoration of the allowances has led to a reintroduction of the quota system. Statistics show that about 1,600 applicants were denied access to the training colleges this year.
Government must go back to the drawing board and refer to the campaign promise and juxtapose that with what has been fulfilled. The plain truth is that NPP has lied to Ghanaians. NPP promised restoration of allowances without the quota system. Is this what has been fulfilled? Obviously, NO!
Have we as a nation also thought of the legal and economic implications of the restoration of allowances and abolition of the nurses bonding system?
From the legal perspective, what government has done by abolishing the bonding system means that the nurses who are being trained by our money after successful completion are under no legal obligations to offer their services to us.
They can choose to go abroad in search of greener pastures even Ghana is prepared to employ them. The economic implications are that there is no value for money in this venture. Since there’s no enforceable agreement between government and the nurses, we as a nation cannot benefit from their services or recoup our monies from them.
Why would we waste our money to train them when we cannot retain them? Are we just interested in training them for other countries to take them free of charge? Why have we left out colleagues of Agriculture students?
Why have we left out students of Law, medical laboratory technology, human biology, engineering etc from the public universities. Are they not also professionals whose expertise are needed for national development? Is it because it was not a political campaign promise? These are intriguing and germane questions that warrant answers from government.
As far as my shallow historical knowledge is concerned, the institution of teachers and nurses and midwifery allowances was to attract many people to train in those institutions which was hitherto considered inferior and preserve for ladies who could not qualify for studies in the universities. Now that those institutions are very attractive, why must we still waste money there as a bait?
Government must get its priorities right. We need to go back to our scale of preference and draw it again. We must wake up from our slumber and consider the legal and economic ramifications of the decision to restore the allowances. It is respectfully posited that government must maintain the bonding system in order to recoup our monies invested in them.
The Ghanaian taxpayer deserves better than this fruitless and uninformed decision. It is further submitted that the monies be used in other productive ventures such as building hospitals, clinics, CHPS Compounds etc that can absorb the trainees after the successful completion of their trainings.
I call on government through a clarion call to reverse this callous, hasty, unsound and fruitless decision actuated by political considerations and allow the status quo ante to stand. JOHN A. NDEBUGRI, BSc Hons and Bachelor of Laws (0244831350). October 10, 2017