Nuisance Loan Text Messages, Accommodation and Health Insurance Concerns of Teachers -A Different View.
The moment I began typing this article, the foremost thought that came to mind is the number of text messages I receive on my phone in a week from financial institutions.
These institutions are constantly flooding the phones of workers on government payroll especially Teachers with enticing loan messages to the annoyance of their already burdened prospective clients -Teachers.
The funniest aspect is that, subscribing to a purported short code meant to stop the inflow of the text messages rather opened the floodgates, with Sundays being their busiest days.
How these nuisance financial institutions get Teachers’ phone numbers remains a mystery yet to be unraveled.
Well, they are into business and backed by some powerful hands, so they cannot be questioned.
Besides, the loan business is very much lucrative. Even our own Unions are into the business. As soon as their names appear on your payslip and the deductions begin, it is a sure bet that you will be working for them close to eternity.
Yes! Close to eternity it will be, if self restrain is not your bedmate, as the interests on these loans are ridiculously high.
You will end up paying three times the amount you took as loan. Their interest rate usually fixed at 1.5-2% per month, amounts to a hooping 150% as interest per the loan period. It is no surprise that most banks and insurance companies are also running what I call, ”the killer loan” module on the payroll system.
Now, let us move to the main reason why I decided to write in the first place.
I embarked on a trip from my former station in the deep valleys of Tsremati Dornguanor (an almost inaccessible, hard to reach, remote and deprived village) in the Yilo Krobo Municipality to the capital city in Accra.
Upon arriving at the ever popular Kwame Nkrumah Circle. I rode on an ”Okada” to the magnificent edifice of the National Association of Graduate Teachers -NAGRAT – at Adabraka.
I felt so proud of the LYCEUM.
However, I thought to myself, if Teachers’ monthly dues could be invested and the dividend be used to build such an edifice, then why are our Teacher Unions not looking at the possibilities of investing in housing infrastructure for their members across the country.
I stand to be corrected, but I believe the plight of lack of accommodation for Teachers in the face of high rent charges, where many Teachers, are left at the mercies of troublesome landlords will be greatly alleviated if the various Teacher Unions accept the challenge to begin investing in housing infrastructure in every district or municipal assembly.
I believe running a well structured housing scheme is not beyond us. Let us start from somewhere and see the relief such a venture will bring to Teachers.
Imagine Teachers’ flats where all Teachers can be located.
The GES-SIC Life Insurance policy became a bone of contention between Teachers and the drafters or managers of the policy. Many Teachers were peeved at their employer – the Ghana Education Service- for rolling out the policy without enough consultation with them or their representatives.
I began to wonder why we have to even wait for our employer to decide for us on this all important matter.
By our sheer numbers, we have the financial prowess to put up a better Mutual Health Insurance Scheme for ourselves. That way, some of our dependants would be directly covered and there won’t be the need to be on the National Insurance Health Insurance policy which has become a pale shadow of itself over the years under various governments since its inception.
Besides, there are private health insurance schemes that are advertising for Teachers to buy their policies. If the State Insurance Company could partner our employer to roll out an insurance policy that is purported to benefit us when we are terminally ill or involved in an accident or for our beneficiaries, when we pass on, then what are we waiting for to take our destiny into our own hands?
I know there is the GNAT cancer fund but we can widen the scope and do more.
Anyway, I was done with the reason I came to the NAGRAT LYCEUM in the city and had to depart to the ever green mountains of Tsremati Dornguanor.
When the vehicle took off from the station en route Koforidua, just before the Ako-Adjei overpass popularly known as the Sankara roundabout, my eyes beheld the glassy and high heavens reaching GNAT HEIGHT.
My conviction became even firmer that, running a Housing Scheme and/ or a Mutual Health Insurance Scheme for Teachers won’t be a camel through a needle’s eye task for us (our Unions) at all.
It is only a matter of working on our Constitutions, administrative structures and a little more zeal and commitment.
Written by: Akakpo-Ashiadey Godwin(SKINKY)
Somanya Methodist JHS
Yilo Krobo Municipality.