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Why has there been a delay in the release of stipends


Logo of Ghana Government Scholarship

Ghanaian medical students on government scholarship in Cuba are living in very harsh conditions due to the Government of Ghana’s delay in releasing their monthly stipends.

For the past 14 months, the stipends of these students abroad have not been paid. This has prevented the students from having access to basic healthcare amid the global pandemic and also what the students describe as an unresponsive attitude from the Ghanaian mission in Cuba.

This lack of basic healthcare in Cuba has allegedly led to the death of Erasmus Klutse, a Ghanaian student.

Eugene Oko Richman, a member of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) executive committee in Cuba explained that Klutse died because “of the poor health treatment that we’ve been receiving”.

“The issue that we have is that the mission here has made it very easy for the Cubans not to make us a priority when it comes to our health because if they had sent an ambulance to him, we feel that his death could have been prevented,” Richman explained.

“So, that’s the reason why we are agitated and we are calling that there should be measures put in place to those things like this could be prevented.”

On his part, Dwumfour Poku, Organizing Secretary, NUGS-Cuba noted, “We set our expectations high only to fall short as we were sabotaged by our own government. None of us accounted for the water shortages, the rotten food being served, the lack of petrol to facilitate transportation, the lack of stipends leaving us hungry; with the inflated prices in the Cuban economy, [and] the loss of our brother Erasmus Klutse due to the negligence of the Ghanaian High Commission and their sponsors.”

He added, “Since our arrival here in 2019, we have had medical issues reported to the school’s clinic but we continue to receive mediocre treatment all because we are not under the Cuban scholarship.

“Despite all of these challenges, as Ghanaian students, we have persevered and upheld a standard that is well above the reach of even those with Spanish as their native language.”

But why has there been a delay in the payment of stipends for the past 14-months?

The Ghana Scholarship Secretariat through a memo dated March 18, 2021, as published by Citi News and monitored by GhanaWeb claims that the beneficiary students were informed about the delay in payment of their monthly stipends through Ghana’s mission abroad.

The memo signed by Kingsley Agyemang, Registrar of Scholarships, explained that the delay was due to “the transitional formalities which are affecting the release of funds for the settlement of scholarship commitments”.

The memo continued: “[The] Mission is therefore respectfully requested to take note of the development and disseminate the information to all scholarship beneficiaries. Students are advised to be prudent and eschew embarrassing actions in their respective countries.”

There are currently 240 students in the cohort in Cuba; 169 are under the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) scholarship, while the rest are to be funded by the Scholarship Secretariat.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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