Feature: On the Double “S”: State Scholarships and Sale of State Properties.

There are two issues, being among the hotly debated in these times. They are state scholarships for students and sale of state-owned properties. Readers, my take on these, please.

State Scholarships: What is ever happening in our scholarship awarding institutions, especially Ghana Scholarship Secretariat (GSS)?

Not so long ago, news broke that some people who did not deserve scholarships, probably because they were not students at all, were given almost £30,000.00 each, for studies abroad which they collected but never stepped in any educational facility.

Meanwhile, students in Ghana, especially those with some disabilities, who are specially treated according to the law and awarded scholarships at tertiary institutions, are compelled to find funding to see their way through their courses, with nothing coming from the state.

On February 3, 2022, on behalf of the Government of Ghana, the Registrar of the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat, Dr. Kingsley Agyemang, launched the Disabilities Support Initiative (DSI) where he announced the increase of annual budgetary support for the students from GH¢350.00 to GH¢1,050.00.

Is that budgetary support in line withSection 18 A of the Persons With Disability Act (ACT 715) that states as follow, “the Government will provide free education for people with disability,” at all levels? The question to ask is, has the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat performed its mandate here?

There are lots and lots of students with disabilities, who will have to find money to see themselves through tertiary education, after that the GSS will come making promises of refunding the fees, only to turn round and tell the completing students that since they were now out of school, government cannot give them any money. This is cruelty and thievery. Some of such students could borrow GH¢40,000.00 for a master’s programme and continue to live their lives outside campus with that huge debt to pay.

Meanwhile, as alleged, someone could bribe his way and be awarded £25,000.00 or GH¢464,400.00, scholarship and yet will not set foot in any college, abroad. This amount can pay for the fees of at least eleven master’s programme students with disabilities, studying in Ghana. And yet, sadly, these students are disregarded and denied what is rightfully and legally theirs.

Today, news coming from across the globe tell a sad story. Most of the Ghanaian students who are under scholarship to study abroad have been neglected by the state. No funds are following in and they are left stranded.

There was this case when one student had his scholarship withdrawn while he was in school. This poor student almost became insane, but with consolations, little helps and encouragement from people, especially members of his church clergy, after three years of struggle, he is soon to complete his law studies. Do you think he will come and practice here in Ghana? I do not want to chip this in, but, this guy’s name does not sound patriotic, even though he is one.

All this while, we have students who really need scholarship but get denied,and others who only need the money and are given, and on top of this, there is an uncontested allegation, that some high-ranking officer at the GSS, has personally acquired a block of flats near the Brunel University in Uxbridge, London, and rents it out to Ghanaian students there who are studying on state scholarship in the university. He/she gives scholarship to students and collect some as rent.

Ghanaians must arise and speak against these sad and evil acts of misapplying state funds in the scholarship sector. A clergyman, the head of the Catholic Church in Accra, Most Rev. Bonaventure Kwofie has started drawing government’s attention to this act of evil malfeasance. More of such voices must join him and may God bless him for showing concern to God’s blessed poor people.

May be, people cannot imagine the challenges and the hardships, students go through, abroad when money is just not coming from any quarters. It is like life is shutting down and some completely drop out to do menial jobs with the hope of making money to continue education. Sadly, some do not get back to the classroom. And Ghana loses good assets.

May I ask, assuming any of these people, who were neglected by the GSS and had to struggle in strange lands to earn something to pay their fees, come back home, what should we say to people who will look at them and say, “the task payers’ money made you who you are!” In fact, what should we do to such people?

Sale of State Properties: The NDC are raising ugly noises about sale of state properties to public individuals. The noise which is irritatingly high. is about the sale of 60% of SSNIT shares in its hotels to Hon. Bryan Acheampong, the agriculture minister.

And this is only sale of shares and not complete take over. SSNIT offered up sale of 60% shares in six of its hotels, namely Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Palm Hotel, Elmina Beach Hotel, Ridge Royal Hotel, Busua Beach Hotel and Trust Lodge Hote, and Byran’s company came up with the best offer, to turn fortunes round.

Meanwhile the NDC is saying that the minister’s action not only constitute an abuse of power, but also pointed to a lack of due process, procurement breaches, cronyism, graft and a violation of the Constitution.

Is this NDC talking? Everything it said about Bryan’s acquisition of shares in SSNIT’s hotels, the NDC did worse. Have Ghanaians forgotten so soon, how the state catering rest houses exchanged hands? GNTC supermarkets, Atlantic Hotel, Meridian Hotel, Star Hotel, and Abosso Glass factory all exchanged hands through cronyism. What about the Tema Boatyards, which was the best in West Africa, but was sold anyway to a top NDC member and laid to waste.

What about the way Bank for Housing and Construction was made insolvent and liquidated on January 17, 2000 and all its prime lands, were sold for chicken feed to those in the corridors of power during the NDC era?

And the vibrant Nsawam Cannery was gifted to the then second lady, H.E. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and her 31st December Women. The factory which used to produce fruit juice, jam, marmalade among others for export, is now an empty shed.

It must be stated that like the Tema Boatyards, all state properties sold by the PNDC/NDC to its members are mostly unfunctional, today. So, what was the intention of the PNDC/NDC when they sold viable state assets to people, who only supervised the decay of these assets which were generating lots of income to the state?But, of course, these properties were bought cheaply and sothey were not worth the attention.

Today when state assets are going into private hands of people who are capable of turning loss into profit, the NDC members are crying, foul. Is it because what they have targeted to acquire when the NDC comes back, are given away to serious people?

Hon. Daniel Dugan


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