Government is to restore allowance for trainees of Agriculture Colleges, Dr Sagre Bambangi, Deputy Minister for Food and Agric has assured. He gave the assurance Wednesday when he met with the Agriculture College Students Union who picketed at the ministry do demand the restoration of the allowance.
The allowance was withdrawn in 2015 by the John Mahama government. The trainees explained the protest had become necessary due to fruitless engagements with government over the past two years. In August 2015, a letter signed by then deputy Finance Minister, Cassiel Ato Forson, addressed to the Agric Minister called for the cancellation of the trainee allowances.
It was subsequently withdrawn during the 2015/2016 academic year. However, some GHC9,649,389 was allocated to pay continuing students their allowances for 2013/2014 academic year. But the students contended this was contrary to the arrangement as advertised by government. “We petitioned the then government, we did all our best to get a response from them concerning this issue all to no avail.
This new government also came in, we wrote series of letters, we even held series of press conference,” Lawrence Amegbor, spokesperson for the Agriculture Colleges Students Union. After a two hour meeting with the deputy minister Dr. Sagre Bambangi, they were assured of government’s readiness to restore the allowance. “We are going to restore it because if we are restoring teacher trainee allowance and you know the number of teacher trainees is much more than the number of agriculture trainee students so I can assure you that we will get back to you,” Dr Banbangi told Obuoba FM.
The minister further indicated steps being taken to absorb the graduates who were awaiting postings. “We are seeking financial clearance to start posting some of the trainees who have left school several years ago. So it is not possible for us, when we get the clearance, to be able to absolve all of them at a time. We will have to do it peace meal. But the students threatened to return if government failed on its promises.