The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta on Saturday, 9th November, 2019 met with some selected student leaders to discuss issues of the economy. This is ahead of the 2020 budget presentation scheduled for Thursday, November 14. The meeting was to give the student leaders the opportunity to make input into the 2020 budget while giving the minister the opportunity to explain some key government policies to the students.
The student leaders where drawn from some national student unions such as the National Union of Ghana students (NUGS), Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG), University Students Association of Ghana (USAG), NUGS-China and the Private Universities Students Association of Ghana (USAG).
Others were the National Health Students Association of Ghana (NAHSAG), Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana (TTAG) and some selected Institutional student leaders from some tertiary institutions in the country.
Mr. Ofori-Atta used the opportunity to encourage the students about their future. Using his own life experience, he indicated that though he was not born with a silver spoon like people think he was, he managed with the help of God to climb from ‘a village’ to become the Finance Minister of Ghana, urging the students not to give up on their ambitions and dreams.
Defend good work
The minister urged the student leaders to do their independent analysis of what the government is doing and help to explain to cynics and others who do not seem to appreciate the good works. He indicated that the government admits of making some ‘honest mistakes’ but added that largely, the government has been successful. “Honest mistakes have been made with some of the choices we have made, but largely we have been successful. So we have no apology at all for the choices that we have made to give people more chances to redefine their lives. I want you the student leaders gathered here to take decision on national issues and let your voice be heard on them. Student leaders must join in defending the good works of the government,” he said.
Mr. Ofori-Atta further asked the student leaders to help in changing the narratives of the political discourse in the country from pedestrian propaganda to important issues that can change the country.
The Minister after his short address had a discussion with the student leaders where he answered questions that border on some key economic issues in the country and also took the views of the students. He highlighted on some achievements of the government and assured the students that their views raised will be giving critical consideration.
Director, Business Research and Skills Development of the Nation Builders Corp (NABCO), Mubarak Bowan, also briefed the students of some successes of the organisation. He stated that NABCO is embarking on various partnerships to give it trainees specialized skills development adding that NABCO will soon partner with student leaders of the various tertiary institutions for some of its plans and programmes under the NABCO-NUGS Partnership.
He indicated that the NABCO-NUGS partnership will be geared at identifying students with some specialized interest to be given skills enhancement training. “You may have studied communication, but if with the partnership, we identify that you have special interest or talent in automobile, NABCO will pick you to be trained in automobile. So that before you leave school, you would have added additional skills to the basic knowledge you have acquired,” he said.