The Minority in Parliament has urged the government to restore trainee allowances for students in colleges of agriculture in fulfilment of the New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) campaign promise to do so.
It said once the government had restored that of teacher and nurse trainees, it would be discriminatory if that of trainees of agricultural colleges were not brought back.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, the Ranking Member on Food and Agriculture Committee of Parliament, Mr Eric Opoku, said following the promise by the NPP in the 2016 election that the allowances of all trainee students would be restored, the students of those colleges had high hopes that
their allowance would be restored.
Therefore, he said, it was incumbent on the government not to renege on its electoral promise to a section of the students.
Mr Opoku was speaking in relation to the recent demands by students of five colleges of agriculture for their allowance to be restored.
The students petitioned the President for the restoration of the
allowance and also picketed at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture a fortnight ago demanding same.
This week, students of the Kwadaso Agriculture College actually boycotted lectures to press home their demands.
Allowances for trainee students were cancelled by the previous government but the ruling NPP government promised to restore them. It has so far restored the allowances for teacher and nurse trainees.
Mr Opoku, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo South, said the demand of the students of the colleges of agriculture was genuine since their colleagues in the education and health sectors had had theirs restored.
He said the refusal of the government to do same to the students appeared that it did not place premium on the agricultural sector.
Dialogue with students
Mr Opoku urged the government to negotiate with the students if it did not have the funds now to finance the allowance, saying, “the government should fulfil part of its promise, otherwise it will be creating the impression that the agricultural sector is being marginalised.”
He said the government could not renege on its promise to the students “unless the government says the agriculture students are not important.”