Busia would have been proud of Free SHS Policy - Bawumia
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said the adherence to the Danquah-Busia-Dombo Tradition has shown greater care for the vulnerable and underprivileged as it consistently seeks to implement policies and programmes tailored to meet their needs.
That Tradition, he noted, began governance under the Progress Party Government of Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia in 1969, and continued with President John Agyekum Kufuor under the New Patriotic Party Government, with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo now on the seat.
Ironically, the parties claiming to be of socialist inclination, today most visibly represented by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), have rather sought to either impede or cancel such programmes, which went against the principles they claim to hold dear, the Vice President said.
Vice President Bawumia said this at a ceremony to celebrate the life and legacy of Prof. Kofi Abrefa Busia, the Prime Minister in the Second Republic, at Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo Region on Saturday.
“The Busia Government was the first government of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia Tradition. He left the blueprint for welfare capitalism, which other governments from the Tradition have implemented, especially the blueprint designed to ensure inclusive and holistic development for all,” he said.
This blueprint led to the introduction of a number of programmes by the Busia Government, including the creation of a new Ministry to seek the welfare, training and employment of youth, culminating in the National Service Corps, and a Voluntary Work Camps Association, among others.
He also instituted a Social Security Fund for the construction of low cost houses, a Rural Development Fund to provide the rural areas with good drinking water, through the Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation, Latrine pits, markets and health posts.
The academic in Dr Busia also saw to the building of Secondary schools across the country, introduction of experimental schools on pilot basis, which is now called junior high schools, provided free text books in all the schools, as well as free ‘Achimota’ sandals to pupils in middle school.
When President John Agyekum Kufuor came into power in 2001, he continued with the Tradition by introducing initiatives such as National Youth Employment Programme, School Feeding Programme, Capitation Grant, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), free maternal care for all pregnant women under NHIS, and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) under which welfare grants are paid to the extreme poor.
Nana Addo’s Era
“President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has continued with the philosophy of welfare capitalism by introducing initiatives such as Free Senior High School Policy, Planting for Food and Jobs, ‘One Village One Dam’, ‘One District One Factory’, ‘One District One Warehouse’.
“We have also restored Teacher and Nursing Trainee allowances, which allowed qualified but needy persons to acquire employable skills but was cancelled by the Party, which claims to care for the poor – NDC. We have reduced the price of water and electricity, and established three Development Authorities to ensure development projects reach every community in Ghana.
‘’Under the Nation Builders Corps, 100,000 graduates will be engaged in seven different modules and be paid monthly while they gain the necessary experience to step out on their own.
“This is a practical demonstration of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo’s commitment to caring for the vulnerable and needy in society. This Tradition, as envisioned by Prof Kofi Abrefa Busia, has continued to be socially responsible and has not sought to cancel programmes designed to make the life of the ordinary Ghanaian better,” Vice President Bawumia said.
He said the late Prof. Busia would have been especially proud about the introduction of the Free Senior High School Policy.
Vice President Bawumia said: “After we have provided for food, water and roads, one thing Dr Busia would want us to do without fail is to ensure that every child in the country, regardless of where he or she lives, and regardless of his or her parents’ ability, gets the opportunity to go to school.
“How else could a rural boy like Dr Abrefa Busia grow up to become such a scholar? He believed and treasured the power of the mind and in the development in freedom of every citizen. There should be no barriers to the development of minds.
‘’It is a profitable social investment for the future. Imagine if Dr Abrefa Busia did not get the chance to go to Mfantsipim School. Who then says that Free SHS is not good or it is not time for it to start?”
The Vice President extolled Prof Busia’s vision and the principles under-pinning his politics, which continue to influence modern day Ghana.