President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo may be facing an uphill task in implementing some of his flagship policies, some of which had been on his heart for decades.
The arduousness of the implementation has more to do with the recent ideological postures of some prominent Ghanaians than the feasibility of the policies.
Ahead of the 2016 general elections, Nana Addo made it clear to the electorate that he was in a haste to transform the economy and develop the country, largely through the country’s human resource development.
And as part of that vision, he wasted no time in introducing the Free Senior High School (SHS), restoring Nurses/Teacher Trainee Allowances and implementing the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) programme, among others.
Interestingly, laudable as these ideas may seem, comments by some personalities are not only counter-productive to the vision, but also play the president into the hands of his political opponents.
Since day one, the opposition had argued that the economy cannot shoulder the policies on the table, but this was countered by people in the ruling party. But barely one year after takeoff, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Ken Ofori-Attah, told the media he personally wished the Free SHS policy was handled differently.
According to him, the programme may have to be targeted at persons with genuine financial needs and not made to benefit everyone. Using himself as an example, the Minister said someone in his economic bracket should not be enjoying such a policy.
To a question on Citi TV, he said: “True, it may be that there have to be changes in the way we are administering it. I can’t take my child to Achimota or Odorgono and leave him or her there and drive away and not pay for anything whiles I can pay for ten people.” In fact, he insinuated that the wholesale nature of the programme could be a ‘mistake’.
“Each soul is important. You would rather make that mistake, if it was a mistake to get everybody in the system for the nation to then begin to have a conversation and say this is good for us because we want our human capital to be at a certain level but maybe, let’s begin to adjust it this way.”
Then, just as government was almost done with quenching the ‘political flame set by the Finance Minister, another prominent figure has called on government to, as a matter of urgency, stop giving allowances to nurses and teacher trainees and invest such funds in Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET).
Professor Stephen Adei, Former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), said: “I do not even think that today, teachers and even nurses should get free education… I know the teachers and nurses will kill me but, all die be die.”
He argued that without governmental support the country would still have enough people doing courses, as they do, by going to private universities”.
While Professor Adei may make some sense to many, he has failed to explain why technical and vocational trainees do not pursue their dreams to the university.
Is the learned professor suggesting that parents of trainee nurses/teachers can afford private universities while technical/vocational students cannot?
In the view of THE PUBLISHER, giving priority to one sector does not mean others should be deprived of what they deserve.
To both Ken Ofori Attah and Professor Adei, we say ‘What is good for the goose is good for the gander’.