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COVID-19: We’re Focused And Won’t Engage John Mahama In Partisan Politics – Hon. Oppong Nkrumah

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We remain focused; we won’t engage you in partisan politics – Oppong Nkrumah tells Mahama

Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah- Information Minister

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Information Minister, and a key frontline person in government’s fight against the pandemic in Ghana has expressed regret about the posture of former President Mahama at this critical time when the country and the world as a whole is finding ways of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah noted that the former President has attempted, with his utterances, to draw government into engaging in partisan politics but the Akufo-Addo government remains focused and will not get distracted from delivering and showing leadership.

The Information Minister sent this strong indication in reaction to proposals made by the former President who is calling on the government to reduce the number of Ministers to generate more revenue to support the fight against the virus.

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But Oppong Nkrumah, who considered this an invitation to dabble in partisan politicking, rubbished the former President’s statements insisting he should rather channel the effort to educating more Ghanaians about the hazards of not observing the health and safety protocols.

The Ofoase-Ayirebi MP explained, “Government is focused on doing all that is necessary to ensure we manage the pandemic so Ghanaians are not extremely affected. On the basis of this, we do not want a situation where people will lead us into unnecessary partisanship. We are focused on doing the needful, all others can come in later.”

“If we begin to respond and engage Mr. Mahama on these less important issues at this stage the real issues about how to cater for the welfare of the people will be relegated to the background because of politics. We don’t want that. Our focus is on education. A lot of people still do not appreciate the situation at hand and hold unto some misconceptions. That is the focus now,” he stressed.

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The former President made the comments whiles presenting some food items to be distributed to 20, 000 households in lockdown affected areas within the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions.

Reluctantly addressing the former President’s proposals, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah asserted, “In any case, how much money are we talking about? If someone says the government is bloated, how much is the extra cost? All MPs are not paid double for being MP and Minister. Check at the Controller and Accountant General, I am not paid double. Compare this to the administration of former President Mahama.

It is unhealthy to do this, I don’t want us to go down this route. He, Mahama paid his Ministers double for being MPs and for serving as Ministers, this is the same person under whose tenure the budget for the office of government machinery was overrun.”

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Government, since the outbreak of the pandemic in Ghana, has intensified public education and introduced several directives and laws to ensure the country isn’t overwhelmed.

It has also instituted some social intervention programmes to ease the burden on households and businesses within the period of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the moment, the country is battling with about 642 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 83 recoveries and 8 deaths while the others are responding well to treatment.

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 Source: ABC News

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Education

Government spent GH¢40.4 billion on education between 2017 and 2020 – President Akufo-Addo

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“EXPENDITURE ON EDUCATION INCREASED BY 95% IN MY TIME” – PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO

President of Ghana. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

“So great has this government’s commitment to education been that public expenditure on education has almost doubled from twenty billion, seven hundred million cedis (GH¢20.7 billion) between 2013 and 2016, that is in the Mahama era, to forty billion, four hundred million cedis (GH¢40.4 billion) between 2017 and 2020, that is in the Akufo-Addo era, representing an increase of some ninety five percent (95%).”

These were the words of the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Tuesday, 4th January 2022, when he delivered a speech at the 6th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi.

Addressing the gathering at the event, President Akufo-Addo noted that GNAT is what it is today because of the work of its past and current membership and leadership, and he assured that, under his administration, the work undertaken by the membership and leadership of the Association will not be in vain.

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The President, thus, used the opportunity to thank all teachers in the country for the work they did, and continue to do, in ensuring that the education of Ghanaian children, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has not been truncated.

“Continuous assessment, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) have all been written by thousands and thousands of students, under your care and guidance, in conditions of safety and orderliness, and without incident. The nation is extremely appreciative of these acts of selflessness and patriotism,” he said

According to President Akufo-Addo, his vision of a modern, competitive, Ghanaian economy, spearheaded by indigenous entrepreneurs, with productive employment for the great majority of its citizens, requires skilled economic actors, and to get there, the nation needs an educated workforce.

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“Through the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, we are ensuring that value is being added to the intellect of every Ghanaian child. This is our surest way of succeeding in adding value to the Ghanaian economy, thereby helping to create acceptable, well-paying jobs for the young people of our country,” he said.

The President continued, “For us, in Ghana, also to make a success of our nation, we must pay attention to teachers. It is only a group of well trained and motivated teachers that can help deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy and nation”.

Outlining the many initiatives implemented by Government since 2017, he stated that his government has restored, since coming into office five years ago, and continues to pay, teacher trainee allowances, which were abolished by the previous administration.

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“In addition to the yearly average increase in salaries over the last five (5) years, my government is, for the first time in our nation’s history, paying a professional allowance to teachers. We have abolished the three (3) months’ pay policy for teachers, we have cleared the arrears, and promotions due teachers have also been effected,” he said.

He stressed that to prevent undue delays in promotion of qualified teachers, Government will, in 2022, improve on the conduct of the aptitude test instituted by the Ghana Education Service, leveraging on lessons learnt from the one conducted in 2021.

Affordable Housing for Teachers

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“Government is also committed to the development of affordable housing for teachers all across the nation. The current initiative will involve the provision of housing for both mortgage and rental. I am fully aware that one challenge facing teacher ownership of homes beyond finance is their inability to purchase homes where they intend to retire,” he said.

Through a subsidised loan programme, President Akufo-Addo indicated that teachers will be provided an opportunity to own houses in desired locations in various parts of the country, stating that the Ministry of Education is working with the National Service Scheme on this.

In addition, the Ministry of Works and Housing is in discussion with teacher unions to provide more housing opportunities for teachers.

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“Within the next two years, it is proposed that ten thousand (10,000) housing units on affordable terms will be developed for teachers across the country. This, as we all know, is the tip of the iceberg, but it is a good beginning,” he added.

Touching on the vexed issue of laptops for teachers, President Akufo-Addo was glad the supply of laptops was appreciated by teachers, and promised that the other related matters of concern will be addressed.

“Good relations between GNAT and my government are matters of importance to me, and I will do my best to promote such relations,” he added.

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Source: The Presidency

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