Students from the various agriculture training colleges in the country have demanded the immediate restoration of their allowances by the current Akufo-Addo administration.
About 400 students from the five colleges of agriculture, namely Kwadaso Agric College, Ejura Agric College, Ohawu Agric College, Damango Agric College and Animal Health and Production College Pong, Tamale, on Wednesday picketed at the forecourt of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) amidst singing and drumming to demand jobs and the restoration of their allowances, which were scrapped in 2015 by the erstwhile Mahama administration.
They are making the demands barely 24 hours after the President Akufo-Addo restored allowances of about 58,000 nursing trainees across the country and declared his intentions to invest heavily in the education of Ghanaian children.
“I have chosen to invest in the education and in the future of our young men and women, and I will use the blessings the Almighty has so amply bestowed on us to this end,” President Akufo-Addo said in Sunyani on Tuesday in a speech to 'launch the restoration of the nursing trainee allowances.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE, National President of the Agric Colleges Students Union (ACSU), Chimbur Sams Sanika, said that the scrapping of their allowances has brought untold hardship to students in the various colleges over the last two years.
There are about 3,000 agric students nationwide and Mr Sanika could not fathom why government restored allowances of about 58,000 nurses and left out agric students.
“We are left behind in terms of policy making in the country.”
Mr Sanika complained about how the various colleges lacked infrastructure and logistics which affects not only students but teachers.
According to him, the situation has generally affected the performance of students in the colleges over the years with little being done to tackle it.
Government recently announced what it termed a 'Marshall Plan' for the agricultural sector which will see it engage about 2,000 students from the various colleges to serve as extension officers.
Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto, who addressed the students after several hours of picketing under the scorching sun to hear what government had to say about their issues, gave the assurance that their demands would be looked at and further decisions would be communicated to them.
He said that there was a high-powered government delegation in Washington DC, USA to hold talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to remove the ban on the employment of people into the civil service, saying when that is done, direct employment would not be a problem.
Dr. Akoto bluntly told the agric students that the promise to restore allowances during the 2016 elections was for trainee teachers and nurses “and that is why it seems they have had priority.”
He said, “Your case came a bit later and I just submitted it to cabinet about 2 or 3 weeks ago and is going through the process, so please bear with government so your demands would be looked at.”
By Melvin Tarlue