Gov’t Takes Steps To Pay Student Utility Bills

The Minister of Education, Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman, has revealed that the accumulated utility bills received from all tertiary institutions in the country by the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) have been forwarded to the Ministry of Finance for the necessary action.

Amidst the power challenges the country has been facing, some time ago the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) completely cut off public tertiary institutions from the national grid for non-payment of bills, plunging the schools into total darkness.

The tertiary institutions then initiated a move to pass on the cost of utility bills to the students.

However, the move was fiercely resisted by the students, some of whom converged in Accra recently to demonstrate against the decision.

The Education Minister has therefore called on the Finance Ministry to expedite action on the payment of the bills to the utility agencies.

She indicated that government recognised the need for the utility agencies to retrieve all debts owed them by institutional consumers.

The Minister however pointed out that the agencies needed to do so responsibly and in a manner that would not make an already difficult situation worse.

Meanwhile, the Education Minister has appealed to the utility agencies and their supervising ministries to comply with the earlier directive of Cabinet that educational institutions be exempted from any disconnection exercise.

This was contained in an address read on behalf of the minister at the induction ceremony of Rev Prof John Frank Eshun as the new Rector of the Takoradi Polytechnic (T-Poly).

The new rector, who has taken over from Rev Prof Daniel Agyapong Nyarko, is an Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering of T-Poly and a Lay Reverend Minister at the Lighthouse Chapel at Anaji near Takoradi.

The Education Minister noted that since the current arrangement of dealing with the problem was not sustainable, there was the need for all institutions to consider taking full and direct responsibility for their utility consumption management.

She revealed that there was an effort to reach a collective agreement between the stakeholders on cost sharing when it came to the payment of utility bills in the institutions and not cost shifting as had been perceived.

The Minister stressed that the process of converting polytechnics to Technical Universities was far advanced and urged the new rector and the management of T-Poly to work towards further strengthening the teaching and learning environment.

Joseph Emmanuel Ackah, Chairman of the Polytechnic’s Council, implored the new rector to manage the human, material and financial resources of the institution judiciously to yield the best of results for the institution.

On his part, the new Rector, Prof Eshun, mentioned that his preoccupation would be the improvement of the quality of teaching and learning facilities, adding, ‘I shall be asking the Polytechnic Council to assist us in building a solid ICT system in the whole polytechnic.’

From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi


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