Upper West NPP Speaks About The Free Sanitary Pad

The Upper West Regional branch of the New Patriotic Party has called on the government to come out with a sustainable source of funding for the free sanitary pads for girls policy or scrap it.

According to them, for government to go in for a loan to finance a project that was cynical in nature was misplaced and a complete waste of the tax payer’s money.

On July 2, parliament approved a $156million loan facility from the World Bank to finance the Ghana Secondary Education Improvement Projects.

The package will among other things be used to finance the construction of a number of community Senior High Schools in the country, provide scholarships for needy students numbering more than 10,000, supply books, pencils and other stationaries as well as sanitary pads for school girls.

However, the component to distribute free sanitary pads to girls has been met with stiff opposition from a section of society including the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Addressing a news conference here to state their stance on the policy, the regional director of communication for the party, Mr Umar Nuhu said it was difficult to comprehend why a government that was unable to honour statutory payments would go in for a loan to finance a perceived problem that was recurring in nature.

He said the argument posited by government that the policy to supply free sanitary pads to school girls would help do away with or reduce absenteeism of female students as a result of the embarrassment they face during their menstrual period, was untenable since it was not the flow per say that caused the girls to stay at home but the associated pains and cramps.

“This is a cold-turkey argument because the girls rather absent themselves because of abdominal pains and other physiological difficulties they go through and not embarrassment emanating from the flow,” he said.

Mr Nuhu said it was clear that government had not done a meticulous calculation of the benefits vis-a-vis the pads and left a lot of gaps to be exploited by cronies of the government.

He noted that if the government is serious in addressing issues that hindered the growth of education in the country, then it will have to turn its attention to issues affecting the capitation grant, school feeding, free school uniforms and others.”

“The capitation grant is in a deplorable state because, it is in arrears of more than nine months and this has rendered the running of these schools ineffective, since headteachers can no longer charge fees for the day-to-day running of their schools,” he added.

Mr Nuhu he said it had taken the government months to settle its indebtedness to caterers of the school feeding programme and even the free school uniform policy was also in a sorry state.

Mr Nuhu said it was unfortunate that in an attempt to introduce interventions that sought to alleviate the plight of the less-privileged and marginalised in society, government still exposed itself to crass criminality and gross incompetence.

He urged government to suspend the policy, and undertake critical analysis of sustainable funding and benefits to the country before implementing it. From Cliff Ekuful, Wa

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