On July 6, 2020, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) held a press conference a few hours after the opposition National Democratic Conference (NDC) officially announced Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang as their vice presidential candidate.
Mr. Yaw Buaben Asamoah, the communications director of the NPP, who addressed the conference made some claims about the NDC’s vice presidential candidate, who is also a former minister of education. He highlighted what the NPP considered to be the failures of Prof. Opoku-Agyemang during her tenure as minister of education while touting his party’s successes.
“Research and Book allowances of our hard working Lecturers were cancelled. Today we have reintroduced Book and research allowance and government has also put together a stand-alone bill to dedicate enough resources for the fund,” Mr. Asamoah said at the press conference.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, during his speech at the acclamation of the President Nana Akufo-Addo as the presidential candidate of the NPP on June 27, 2020, also made a similar claim.
“We have restored the book and research allowance,” Dr. Bawumia said.
Fact-check Ghana has verified the claim on the cancellation of the book and research allowance and conclude it is false.
Explanation: In 2013, the Government of Ghana through its functionaries announced that it was going to review the book and research allowance, a system that provided research support to lecturers and researchers. The government said it wanted to replace it with the national research fund.
The decision was also announced in the 2014 budget statement (pg. 190) by the then finance minister, Mr. Seth Terkper.
“In order to encourage more research work in tertiary institutions and to realize its full benefits, Government has decided to review the existing system of payment of the book and research allowance, and replace it with a Research Facility. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Education through the National Council for Tertiary Education has set aside GH₵15 million towards the establishment of a Research and Innovation Facility,” the budget statement said.
The decision was opposed by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), which staged a number strikes to register their protest.
UTAG and POTAG contended that they did not oppose the establishment of the national research fund, as it was an idea they first mooted in 2006. They, however, believed that the fund should not give rise to the scrapping of the book and research allowance but should complement it. Their demands were, however, not fully accepted by the Government of Ghana.
Despite the disagreements, the ruling NDC government in their last year in power, 2016, paid the book and research allowance for the 2015/2016 academic year. This was announced by President John Dramani Mahama at the last session of the series of the 50th congregation ceremonies of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi on July 6, 2019 when he said government had released GH¢37 million to the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to pay the book and research allowance.
The payment was further confirmed by the then President of UTAG, Dr. Harry Agbanu, that the various universities had picked up their checks from the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE).
These pieces of evidence therefore prove that the government of the NDC did not cancel the book and research allowance warranting its restoration or reintroduction as claimed by the NPP and Dr. Bawumia.