General News of 2014-07-07

NDC to embezzle funds through SHS projects - Minority alleges

The Minority in Parliament has hit hard at the $156 million loan facility recently secured by government for the expansion of the country’s secondary education.

The loan facility was approved by Parliament last Wednesday, July 2. It is aimed at supporting government’s community day senior high school programme promised under the National Democratic Congress' manifesto.

But meeting journalists on Monday, July 7, the Minority accused the ruling party, NDC, of using the loan as a strategy to embezzle public funds.

“In the 2014 budget statement, government budgeted for and got approval to construct 50 senior high schools in 2014 at a unit cost of GH¢4.4m,” said Member of Parliament for Dormaa Central Constituency Kweku Agyemang Manu, who addressed the meeting.

“In this IDA agreement, however, the same NDC government is seeking to construct the same kind of senior high school at a unit cost of $4.3m, the equivalent of GH¢13.76m.”

According to Mr Agyemang Manu, who doubles as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, the devotion of 40 per cent of the loan facility to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a sign that all is not well with the brain behind the project.

“Do we not have outfits at the Ministry of Educational that monitors and supervises the provision of educational infrastructure? Is this the way to build capacity of educational institutions? Obviously no. It is all a dishonest strategy to create avenues to siphon public funds, pure and simple.”

He urged providers of the loan, the World Bank, to “relook at this project and bring good governance considerations to bear.”

Twenty-three new senior high schools are expected to be constructed at a cost of $98.9 million under the contract.

It will also see scholarship for some students and expansion and improvement of 75 existing schools.