General News Wed, 27 Jul 2022

Eduwatch identifies inconsistencies in Free SHS government expenditure

The African Education Watch (EduWatch), a policy think tank, has identified some inconsistencies in the expenditure of the Ministry of Education and called for wider collaboration.

According to the think tank, data credibility, especially financial data, was critical for accountability in the management of public policies hence the need for the Finance Minister to take proactive measures to ensure that the inconsistencies are ratified.

Eduwatch statement signed by Mr Kofi Asare, the Executive Director and copied to the Ghana News Agency, explained that there continue to exist disturbing inconsistencies in the expenditure data for the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme.

"In section 60 of the 2022 Mid-Year Budget, the Minister of Finance submitted that, from the inception of the Free SHS programme in 2017 to the end of 2021, the government has spent a total amount of GHC5.3 billion," it said.

This amount according to EduWatch was inconsistent with previous figures provided by the Minister of Finance in July 2021 when he presented the mid-year budget and the Minister of Education around the same period of the year 2021.

"In Section 284 (Page 49) of the 2021 Mid-Year Budget Statement, the Minister of Finance indicated that a total amount of GHC7.62 billion had been allocated to Free SHS since 2017," the statement added.

It further indicated that, on Sunday, June 7th, 2021, during the Minister of Education’s Meet the Press Briefing at the Ministry of Information, the Minister submitted that a total amount of GHC7.7 billion had been spent on the Free SHS programme.

According to Eduwatch these conflicting expenditure account on the Free SHS programme with a variance of over GHC2 billion does not augur well for accountability of public funds.

It, therefore, called on the Minister of Finance to clarify the actual Free SHS expenditure incurred by the Government of Ghana between 2017 and 2021.

It also urged the Minister to provide an explanation for the variance in Free SHS expenditure data at the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education.

Eduwatch, therefore, called for closer and wider collaboration between the Ministry of Finance and Education towards the management and reporting of Free SHS and education expenditure to ensure public accountability.
Source: GNA
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