The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, has expressed his disappointment on Parliament’s rejection on a proposed absorption of fees of students in public tertiary institutions.
Speaking in an interview, Mr. Ayariga noted that, the current state of the economy calls for such move, despite the Majority group’s question on funding.
“You cannot use the 2019 economy condition fees in a 2020 pandemic economy. So, let’s reconsider these fees, and they said no. Let’s say government should absorb it; I agree that we should use the word absorb instead of suspend. We suspended it then they came back and said the motion is incompetent and against the constitution. They also argued that where will government get the money to find money to pay”.
He further argued that his motion was not directly to suggest that the government pays the full fees for students but make allowance for options such as getting the schools to take out certain components of the fees that were not applicable such as entertainment and sporting fees so that the fees are drastically reduced.
“I am very scandalized by their approach. It is not all the time that when you are trying to solve a problem, you throw money at it. You can solve a problem by throwing efficiency and prudent management at it”.
Parliament on January 28, 2020, took a decision to reject the motion moved by Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga seeking to absorb fees for tertiary students for the 2021 academic year.
Considering the motion had been successful, parliament would have requested President Akufo-Addo to absorb fees for tertiary students as part of the relief packages for Ghanaians occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minority group had conceded to support the motion, however, the Majority group argued that the decision would be needless as government has already provided enough support and interventions in the area of education in the wake of the pandemic.
Mahama Ayariga who moved the motion then, noted that incomes of households have been affected by the dire effects of Covid-19, making it difficult for parents and guardians to cater for their bills, including fees of their wards in tertiary schools.
“There is no doubt that the Covid has affected negatively, household incomes across sectors. Government, no doubt, has taken measures to address some of the economic fallouts resulting from the Covid infections that have been visited on this country.
“Government has done some things, but the reality is that as the government has directed that schools should reopen, many young people and their parents cannot afford to pay the fees to get in”.
That notwithstanding, in a majority decision, parliament voted to reject the motion, but only after a spirited debate from both sides.
Following the ruling, Minority group Leader, Haruna Iddrisu said the NPP side’s posture will make it difficult for the House to deliberate on matters going forward; a statement, the Majority group Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu however, disagrees.
“This was our first opportunity to have cooperation and from those in the government or the ruling party. It means that they are not ready to cooperate nor build consensus”.