Our attention has been drawn to a publication issued by the Daily Graphic on their online portal regarding an amount of US$250,000 spent on Ghanaian students in Wuhan in the wake of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.
Quoting from the publication “The embassy released 55,000 Yuan to NUGS China out of that amount and students in Wuhan were given 20,000 Yuan each, while others in other cities in Hubei received 10,000 Yuan each”, and this is not accurate. NUGS-China would like to set the records straight regarding any financial arrangement that has happened in the wake of this outbreak between the Union and the Ghana Mission, to avoid any misconception that the above-mentioned publication may bring.
NUGS-China has received a total of RMB65,000 between January 27, 2020, and February 20, 2020, from the Ghana Mission under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (50,000RMB), and personal donations from the Head of Ghana Missions, H. E. Edward Boateng (15,000RMB). 45,000RMB of the said amount was given to the students in Hubei Province (35,000RMB to Wuhan; 5000RMB to Shiyan and Yichang each).
The remaining, 20,000RMB of the said amount, clearly indivisible among the over 24 remaining chapters of the Union, were committed to a fund ‘Nkwa Na 3hia Fund” created for the procurement of nose masks and hand sanitizers from Russia and Ukraine for disbursement to all the chapters outside of Hubei Province.
Most importantly, concerning the US$250,000, the Ghana Mission has so far disbursed US$500 directly into the individual accounts of each of the over 300 Ghanaians living in the Hubei Province alone. The remaining amount is under the watch of the Ghana Mission, to “cater for students and Ghanaians throughout China with peculiar needs” as mentioned in the publication. Let me reiterate that the Union never received the US$250,000 on behalf of the Ghanaian students in China.
As unbelievable, yet apparent as it may seem, the amount of money that was left at the disposal of the Union by the Government of Ghana is only 20,000RMB for the procurement of protective items for the over 6000 remaining Ghanaian students outside of Hubei Province.
In this same publication, it is stated that the embassy informed NUGS-China when purchasing masks for Ghana Community, with the view that we will let the Mission buy for us. Still, we said our fellow Ghanaian students in Ukraine were ready to donate some to us, and so we would purchase the masks from Ukraine. The reason for this is that we had only 20,000RMB to make this purchase and the price the embassy quoted from their Chinese supplier, which is 4RMB a piece, would not be sufficient for the remaining students. In contrast, the cost from Ukraine was lower at 25RMB for a box of 100 pieces.
We appreciate the benevolence of the Ghana Government and Ghana Mission in Beijing during these trying times. We also acknowledge all the help received thus far from the Global Union of Ghanaian Scholars (GUGS) and the media. However, the Union is still calling on not only the Government of Ghana but other private donors, to make provisions for the other Ghanaians in other provinces who are going through similar ordeals as the brothers and sisters in Hubei Province, through financial or nose masks donations.