Parliament has rejected the motion for the House to resolve to request the President to take urgent steps to absorb the fees of students of public tertiary institutions for the 2020/2021 academic year.
The motion also sought to extend support to accredited private universities as part of the national COVID-19 alleviation measures being implemented by the government.
The vote against the Private Member’s motion came after the end of a lengthy debate by the Minority and the Majority legislators after which the Speaker called for a voice vote which saw the Majority having their way.
The Majority had objected to the motion and called for its outright rejection since it was “incompetent and unspecific” which fees could be absorbed, but the Minority said it was of public interest to support students and parents to cushion them against the impact of COVID-19.
The motion was first moved on January 20, 2021 by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mr Mahama Ayariga, who requested the President to consider the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and individuals.
“When government absorbs the fees, which are being charged by public tertiary institutions, students and parents still have a significant chunk of cost to bear in terms of transportation, accommodation and materials,” he said.
Speaker’s ruling earlier
Last Tuesday, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, ruled that the earlier motion filed by Mr Ayariga, which called for the suspension of fees and miscellaneous Provisions Instrument, 2019 (LI 2386) for the 2021 academic year, was competent and relevant as it bordered on public interest.
He, therefore, directed Mr Ayariga to consult his colleagues in the Majority to reshape the motion’s text so that he could bring it back to the House as consensual motion.
Consequently, the leadership of both sides met and discussed and agreed on a new text for the motion after which Mr Ayariga submitted the new motion to the House.
However, arguing out the new motion, the Majority MPs considered the motion as still being vague and urged the House to vote against it but Minority described it as relevant and urgent.
Motion lacks standards