The General Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Julius Kwame Anthony, has expressed frustration over the delay in the payment of allowance to National Service personnel across the country.
According to him, the failure of government to disburse the allowance over the last three months has posed a lot of challenges for service personnel, who are compelled to survive the hard way.
Speaking in an interview with Blessed Sogah on JoyNews Prime on Friday, the student leader, who is also a National Service person, described the delay in the payment of allowances as a ‘terrible thing’.
“It’s very tough having to do National Service at a cost to yourself. You’re paying your own transportation in and out, which the average is about GH¢11 cedis a day, if you’re using public transport everyday.
And then you feed yourself. If you spend let’s say GH¢15 twice, that’s GH¢30. That’s GH¢41 in a day. And then you’re being given an allowance of GH¢559. If you do the calculation, you’re in a debt of GH¢671, if we measure on thirty days.
And still for three months, this has not been paid? What magic are national service personnel supposed to perform? Are we magicians?”, he quizzed.
Mr. Anthony, also stated that, some National Service personnel go through a lot of difficulty in securing accommodation and paying their rent; and therefore the delay by authorities in paying the allowance is unacceptable.
In his view, young people must not be allowed to go through such harsh financial ordeals. Consequently, he expressed his willingness to back a demonstration to drive home the demands of the aggrieved personnel.
“The personnel are angry, and all they need is the leadership and they’ll be on the streets demonstrating. And some of us at this point are willing to provide that service for them. Because ourselves we’re feeling it.
If students start massing up to demonstrate against what is going on, I will willingly lead them on demonstration on these issues. Because it is not fair for any young person to be living under the kind of frustration that we’re dealing with”, he reiterated.
Over the past weeks, some government officials have argued that the hike in fuel prices and the hardship in the country, have been influenced by the geopolitical tensions between Ukraine and Russia, in addition to the post COVID-19 complications.
But for Mr. Anthony, the delay in the payment of the allowance cannot be blamed on such factors.
“I don’t trust anything that is alluded to current turn of events on the globe and all that. Because as NUGS General Secretary, I’ve witnessed how within the past one year, not a single person has gotten loans from SLTF for example.
So it has been a deliberate, should I say forfeiture of responsibility towards young people. Why should you go to school, and you can’t even access decent loans to complete your school?
Then you struggle all the way to finish and you can’t even get allowance to subvent your transportation cost. It’s a terrible thing to be dealing with, so there’s no excuse we’re going to take. Whether global economic issues, whatever it is, we’re not going to take it, because we’re already used to a situation where government ignores our plight. We’re used to that situation already”, he said.
He therefore called for urgent steps to address the concerns of the personnel.
Meanwhile, the National Service Personnel Association, has indicated that payment of the January allowance, will be made on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
In a statement signed by the NASPA President on Saturday, the Association assured the aggrieved personnel that based on its engagements with authorities, the remainder of the outstanding payments will be made afterwards.