The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has issued a two-day ultimatum to government to clarify the plan for the payment of utility bills in public universities across the country.
The Union announced that the failure of the responsible governmental bodies to respond to their demands will result in a ‘red protest’ by all tertiary students in the country.
“We are giving them two days, if after then the National Union of Ghana Students does not hear anything from the Ministry of Education, the NCTE or VC Ghana [on the utilities], then we are calling on all students of Ghana to go red,” the President of NUGS, Paa Kwesi Adu, stated.
He added that at a meeting with the Ministries of Education and Finance, and other stakeholders, an agreement had been reached for the universities to bear the utility costs.
“For some months now we have been fighting this issue with government and other stakeholders. On the 31st of May, we had a stakeholders meeting at the Ministry of Education and that meeting had a fair representation of all the stakeholders; the VC Ghana was there, the Ministry of Finance, The Ministry of Education were there.
At the meeting we all agreed that government was going to pay the utility bills for public institutions for the 2016/2017 ensuing year,” he told Citi News’ Duke Mensah Opoku.
According to the NUGS President, some schools had breached the agreement and were asking students to pay for utilities. “It’s unfortunate that after the meeting some institutions have decided to charge students utility bills.
The University of Professional Studies Accra is one of such universities. The UPSA have decided to go against the decision and are charging students utility bills.
The students in the medical school at KNUST have equally been charged 1,000 cedis, very exorbitant fees, as utility bills,” he said.
The Government had directed public universities and polytechnics to pay their own utility bills, forcing the management of some Universities to redirect the costs to the students.
There were suggestions that the removal of the utility subsidies by the government and the directive to the Universities to pay, was only a front to force the bills on students.
However, this was denied by the Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of tertiary, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah, who stated at the time that, government was yet to take a decision on the matter.
The authorities of the University of Ghana took a decision to scrap the payment of utility bills by students of the school having earlier proposed GHC 2,326 cedis and GHC 922 for residential and non residential students respectively