Government has released three months stipends for Ghanaian students studying abroad on scholarship, Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Enam Hadzide has disclosed.
According to him, the allowances covered the months of April, May and June as part of measures by government to cushion students in the era of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We have paid the monthly stipends for Ghanaian students studying abroad on government scholarship upfront and in advance for the second quarter; April, May and June this year,” he confirmed.
The Deputy Minister was addressing journalists in Accra yesterday in what he termed “a response” to some issues raised by the Minority in parliament at its last media encounter on Thursday on government’s handling of the virus outbreak in the country.
The Minority among others had justified its earlier proposal to government to repatriate students in Wuhan, in China where the disease broke out, have accused government of failing to give accurate data on the pandemic in the country.
Mr Hadzide, in a reaction expressed disappointment in the Minority’s repeated stance, insisting that government’s decision have eventually served the overall good of the students.
“This week, schools have in fact reopened in Wuhan and, for the records, not a single Ghanaian student in China was infected by COVID-19, yet, instead of conceding that the government exercised far superior judgement, as we always have, they keep repeating this bankrupt and expired proposal,” he argued.
The Deputy Minister, who used the opportunity to shoot down allegations of different documentation presented by government to access a $1billion loan facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), invited the opposition to proffer pragmatic alternatives for proper management of COVID-19.
“It is not true that we presented a different picture to parliament and another to the IMF. Whiles we decline the invitation of the NDC to engage in a blind and partisan banter on COVID-19, it is also imperative that for their education, we restate some of the facts around Ghana’s very effective and successful COVID-19 response plan.”
Thus, Mr Hadzide revealed that contrary to claims that “science has been relegated to the background” in the COVID-19 fight, the government was on top of issues at it coordinated closely with seasoned health experts to determine the country’s response strategies.
“We have increased Ghana’s testing capacity beyond just, Noguchi and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR). At the moment nine testing centres are operational across the country and others centres are being capacitated and brought on stream.
“The suggestion therefore that Ghana’s testing regime is problematic, is at best uneducated. The apparent sharp rise in the number of positive cases should in fact indicate that the system is working at early detection and isolation and the clearing of the backlog of samples, was as a result of the enhanced contact tracing.
The Deputy Minister outlined measures including the imposition of the Restrictions Act passed by Parliament, mandatory wearing of masks, among the provision of stimulus packages to contain spread of the disease as well as reduce the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on the populace.
“Yes, there is a crisis just like the whole world is in crisis, but we trust in the good judgment of the Ghanaian people to work with the leadership of our country so that together we can defeat this virus,” he maintained.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH
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