Dr. Bawumia has been making some claims on the Campaign trail in the Northern region. His claims about the restoration of teacher and nurses trainee allowances were found to be half true while that about government’s nonpayment of school feeding grants of senior high schools in northern Ghana was found to be mostly true. Finally, Dr. Bawumia’s claim about prices of fertilizer under Pres. Mahama’s government was found to be true but misleading. Below are the specific claims he made, the fact-checking verdicts and the bases for the verdicts.
Firstly, Dr. Bawumia made the below claim when he spoke at the Nyankpala Campus of the University for Development studies.
Claim 1: “They of course have already cut and abolished teacher trainee allowances and nursing trainee allowances. The President says even if it will cost him the elections he was not going to restore them… but today with just two months to the elections, seeing defeat staring him in the face, he says that he wants to restore the allowances
Verdict: Half True
Explanation: Government discontinued the then policy of providing teacher trainees with monthly allowances in 2013 despite the protest from the trainees but still maintained their feeding grants. All teacher trainees were then rolled unto the student loans scheme under the Student Loan Trust Fund.
Similar to the government’s position on the teacher training institutions, allowances paid to nursing trainees had also been discontinued. But unlike the teacher trainees, the nursing trainees could not automatically access the student loans due to a legislative barrier.
Government then decided to restore a portion of the previous allowance to these nursing trainees until the legislative hurdle is cleared.
So it is not true that the President has promised to restore the teacher trainee allowances in addition to the nurses training allowances. As at now, it does not appear that the president’s and government’s position on that (discontinuance of teacher training allowance) has changed.
Later on at Buipe he made the following claims:
Claim 2: “They (government) have not paid school feeding grants for our secondary schools in the North for two terms in a row, they have not paid school feeding grants for two terms, the headmasters are asking for them to pay for our children to be able to eat in school.”
Verdict: Mostly True
Explanation: Our checks with the Conference of Heads of Assisted Senior High Schools in the three regions of the North indicate that they have still not received the feeding grants for the stated period. Though this is not the first time, the Ministry of education says the Finance Ministry is currently processing payment for at least one term.
Claim 3: Why has the prices of Fertilizer gone up so high under their government?
Verdict: True but misleading
Explanation: The price of fertilizer between 2008 and 2015, increased by 295 percent. That means the price of compound fertilizer increased from GH¢22 per 50kg bag in 2008, to GH¢89 per 50kg bag by 2015. But what Dr. Bawumia failed to add was that between the same period government subsidized 724,055mt of fertilizer at a cost of GH¢345,244,000, with 2013 receiving the biggest allocation subsidy of GH¢176,746,000 and that government has very little control over the prices of fertilizer. A Send Ghana report (2015) showed that the quantity of subsidized fertilizer rose steadily by 317 percent from 43,176mt in 2008 to 180,000mt in 2013. But though there was a tremendous increase in the quantity, the northern Ghana share of price subsidy reduced from 50 percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2013 and 2015. It is this reduction in the subsidy that ended up increasing the subsidized fertilizer’s price.