The Rt. Hon. Speaker Alban Bagbin has admitted the motion by Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga for the suspension of the payment of admission fees for tertiary students in the 2020/21 academic year.
Delivering his ruling on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, he said contrary to the objection raised by the NPP’s side of the House that the motion was incompetent, the Speaker said the motion is competent and of national interest.
The Bawku Central MP had written to the office of the Speaker of Parliament to request prior approval to move a motion for the suspension of the payment of admission fees for tertiary students in the 2020/21 academic year.
He argued that the motion urgent following the recent reopening of schools where students who have gained admission are requested to make payments before they are admitted.
To him, the development was worrying because the country is still trying to recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“This is important to the public because many people have lost their jobs due to the economic consequences of the outbreak of Covid-19, which has necessitated government granting subsidies in the provision of water and electricity.
“The hospitality sector has been hard hit. Workers of private schools in the education sector have not earned income in close to a year. Border towns like Bawku have suffered economically from the restrictions in cross-border movement and trading.
“Most parents and students have not been able to work to save funds to be able to pay fees. Remittances from abroad have drastically shrunk. The banking crisis caused many jobs to be lost,” the MP stated.
“Order 50 (3) – The application of the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Instrument, 2019 (LI 2386), being a financial legislation, can only be suspended by an amendment introduced on behalf of the President.”
However, his motion was met with resistance from the side of the NPP MPs.
They argued that there was a problem with the procedure and the wording of the motion.
The NDC Caucus supported the motion with arguments that the suspension of the fees is necessary due to the economic hardship imposed on parents by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NPP side on the other handheld the views that such a measure would be unnecessary because the government has already provided enough support and interventions in the area of education due to the pandemic.
But in his ruling today, the Speaker said the motion was admitted as urgent in a specific matter of urgent public importance.
He explained that the amendment to the motion by the MP was appropriate per Order 78 (d) of the House.
“Simply put, I rule that the motion as admitted, moved, and seconded is competent and of urgent public importance. I further rule that the motion was properly brought before the House. In that sense, both the substantive and the procedural objections raised are without merit and accordingly hereby dismissed,” he ruled.