Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga has applied to Speaker of the House for approval to move a motion to request the President to suspend payment of fees in tertiary institution for both new and continuing students.
The urgency of the matter, he said, is due to the fact that public tertiary institutions are reopening and students who are offered admission are requested to make payments before they are admitted.
According to him, these new students will lose the opportunity if they do not pay as continuing students must also pay.
A letter submitted to Speaker Alban S. K. Bagbin by Mr Ayariga, seeking approval to move his motion for the non-payment of fees in the tertiary institutions.
“I write to seek your prior approval to move a motion pursuant to Order 50(1) in the following terms;
“That this House Resolves to request the President of the Republic of Ghana to take urgent steps to suspend the payment of admission fees by new entrants into public tertiary education institutions and continuing students of those institutions for the 2021 academic year as part of the national COVID relief programmes being implemented by Government.”
The action the Motion is seeking, Mr. Ayariga said, is important to the public because many people have lost their jobs due to the economic consequences of the outbreak of COVID 19, which has necessitated government granting subsidies in the provision of water and electricity.
“The hospitality sector has been hard hit. Workers of private schools in the education sector have not earned income in close to a year. Border towns like Bawku have suffered economically from the restrictions in cross-border movement and trading.
“Most parents and students have not been able to work to save funds to be able to pay fees. Remittances from abroad have drastically shrunk. The banking sector crisis caused many jobs to be lost”, he added.
According to Mr. Ayariga, the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Instrument. 2019 (LI 2386) has set out the various fees and charges to be paid by students of public tertiary institutions.
However, the economic conditions of the country at the time Parliament approved the fees have radically changed in the light of the devastation to household incomes by COVID-19 and other factors.
Parliament and the President, he said, should therefore not insist on these fees in the light of the prevailing economic circumstances.
He noted that essential components of the public tertiary institutions can function without many of the fees and charges students are expected to pay in LI 2386.
He pointed out that student bursaries will also kick in to support students only after they have been able to pay admission fees and entered the universities.
He said, “Order 50(3) – The application of the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Instrument, 2019 (LI 2386), being a financial legislation, can only be suspended by an amendment introduced on behalf of the President.”
Mr. Ayariga appealed to the Speaker to grant the request as none of the conditions stipulated in Order 50(4) stand in the way of the admissibility of the Motion.