The Vice President, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia says there should be no room for hypocrisy on the implementation and beneficiaries of the Free Senior High School (SHS) Education policy.
In a jab aimed at former President John Dramani Mahama, the Vice President said the government had no plans to stop the policy.
“I hear somebody [former President Mahama] says we are spending so much on free SHS. Have you heard him? He said we are spending so much so we won’t have money for other things. Did you hear that?
“You who said free SHS was not possible. When you did not have free SHS under your government, you couldn’t pay teachers and nursing training allowance, you couldn’t pay National Health Insurance, is it free SHS which stopped you?
“I’m from the North. I benefitted from free education. It is good for the people of the north and it is good for the people of Ghana,” he said to the buzz of vuvuzelas and cheers from the crowd.
“It must be enjoyed by everybody,” he told a cheering crowd at a mini rally organised by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at Obo at Kwahu in the Eastern Region on Easter Saturday.
The address was preceded by a walk that brought the towns on the Kwahu Ridge to a standstill as thousands of supporters of the party poured on the streets.
Joined by the Vice President and some of the party’s big wigs, including the party’s Youth Organiser Henry Nana Boakye; its National Organiser, Mr Sammy Awuku; the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Kwakye Daffour; the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and a host of others, the supporters danced to music from the streets while the Vice President responded to cheers from the hundreds of people that took to the streets to catch a glimpse of him and the other officials.
The walk took the party faithful from Atibie through Mpraeso, Obomeng to Obo where the rally took place.
They carried placards with messages including “One village, One Dam,” “Jobs we have performed better,” “National ID Cards, we have performed better,” “Digital addressing system, we have delivered, “taxes, we have performed better,” and “Restoring Nursing training allowance.”
The Vice President said the freeze on public sector employment was over with the government employing about 350,000 people.
He said in the last two years, four months, the government had taken at least 40 measures to reduce the hardship Ghanaians faced through reducing the electricity tariffs of households by 17.5 per cent and that of industries by 30 per cent while doubling the capitation grant for public schools by 100 per cent from GHc4.5 to GHc10.
Other policies and initiatives included the employment of 100,000 graduates under the NABCO programme, abolishment of fees for postgraduate medical training students in Ghana, increased the share of the District Assemblies Common Fund payable to the disable community by 50 per cent, fulfilled a campaign promise to give 50 per cent of employment opportunities at tollbooths to the physically challenged, expanded Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme with 150,000people, expanded school feeding programme by 500,000 beneficiaries, restored teacher and nursing trainees allowances, reduce excise duty on petroleum, reduce special petroleum tax from 17.5 to 15 per cent, abolish one per cent import levy among others.
He said the government was implementing the One District, One Factory which had so far seen the completion of 60 factories in addition to the execution of the One Village, One Dam Policy in the five regions of the north.
Additionally, he said the government had saved 1.5 million depositors from losing their funds in the banking crisis that gripped the country while at the same time reduced import duties which were a burden on the business community.
When Mr Sammy Awuku took his turn he cheered the crowd up with “tsooboi” and chants of “Kukrudu” before launching into attacks on former President Mahama’s administration which he said could not be trusted.
He said the return of the former President would witness a nightmare for Ghanaians.
He cited the taxation of cutlasses and condoms by the Mahama administration as examples of the last administration’s lack of sympathy for ordinary Ghanaians.