The General Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Julius Kwame Anthony has said that he suspects the scheduled press conference by NUGS on the 2022 Budget is an attempt by the Union’s President and his cohorts to back the government’s proposed E-levy.
Speaking to MyJoyOnline.com on Wednesday, Mr. Anthony said based on the circumstances that led to the announcement of the press conference, he’s convinced of a “malicious intent”‘ by the NUGS President to throw his weight behind the controversial E-levy proposal.
On Wednesday, November 24, NUGS President, Mr. Emmanuel Yiadom Boakye issued a release announcing the Union’s decision to organise a press conference on the 2022 Budget.
In an interaction with MyJoyOnline.com, Mr. Yiadom said the essence of the press conference is to afford NUGS an opportunity to articulate its position on some initiatives proposed in the Budget, especially those relating to the proposed YouStart programme and other areas related to the youth. This, according to him has become necessary following a meeting with the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, and his deputy, John Kumah on the 2022 Budget, on November 24 at the Ministry of Finance.
But the Union’s Chief Scribe, Mr. Anthony has dismissed the explanations given by Mr. Yiadom.
According to him, when the Finance Minister requested to have audience with NUGS and other student leaders, the NUGS President deliberately excluded him and handpicked those he felt are more inclined to the government to attend.
“So the situation is that the Finance Minister asked for a meeting with the National Executive Committee of NUGS, which is comprised of the President, myself, the General Secretary, Finance Secretary, Secretary for Women’s Development and then the Bloc Heads. The Bloc Heads are USAG, University Students Association President, Health Students Association President, Teacher Trainee Association President etc. And what YB did was to eliminate the Pro NDC people, who are part of it, me especially, because I’m very vociferous”, Mr. Anthony revealed.
Mr. Anthony further alleged, the reason for his exclusion is that, the NUGS President had a premeditated agenda of wanting to have like-minded persons at the said meeting.
This, he said formed part of a grand scheme by Mr. Yiadom to use the press conference to back the government’s E-levy.
“And if you look at the letter inviting the presser, the statement, you’ll realise that he [Emmanuel Yiadom Boakye] has copied National Executive Officers, he has copied NEO, he has copied NEC which means we are not in the know. And he’s now copying us that he’s going to organise a press conference on these and these subject. That’s not how the organogram of NUGS is. That’s not how he [Emmanuel Yiadom Boakye] is supposed to operate. So it is all evident of the fact that there’s malicious intent, the claims of bribery and all those things could be true. And I mean, people who attended the meeting, I’ll reserve the names because they didn’t permit me to mention their names; who attended the meeting, some of these Bloc heads attested to the fact that they were given heavy in quote ‘T&T’, and that was the arrangement they’re supposed to do. To come and educate, that’s the wording: ‘educate’ their constituents on the budget, why the E-levy is necessary and all that’, Mr. Anthony told MyJoyOnline. com.
Based on his suspicions, Mr. Anthony expressed his readiness to use other appropriate forums to counter the compromise by the NUGS President, Mr. Emmanuel Yiadom Boakye.
Responding to the allegations, Mr. Yiadom told MyJoyOnline.com that the suggestions that the November 25 presser is designed to back the 2022 Budget is untrue. According to him, the press conference has no such intent.
Meanwhile, the National Youth Organiser of the NDC, George Opare Addo, has accused the Finance Minister of using NUGS to court support for the ‘detrimental’ E-levy proposal. He expressed his suspicions in a Facebook post on November, 24.
“Things fall apart, the center cannot hold! If the supposed e-levy was that prudent and resonates with young people, why would the Finance Minister be this desperate to coerce student leaders to endorse it? To the point of offering them GHS 15,000 to organize a press conference in support of the burden-laden budget. A policy that is detrimental to the hopes and aspirations of young people yet Ken Ofori-Atta, who’s out of wits thinks taxing mobile transactions used mostly by students to get by, is a cool idea. Let it be known that this agenda won’t stand! No PR or peer-to-peer campaign led by any student Union will make this insensitive tax any less callous! To the leadership of NUGS, the Ghanaian Youth, especially students will be disappointed in you if you go ahead with this presser. We know what you have been told to do and say but let your conscience guide you to do what is right by students and your nation”, Mr. Opare Addo posted.