General News of Fri, 17 Feb 201713
Free SHS: Ofori-Atta, Osafo-Marfo contradict on source of funding
Finance minister, Ken Ofori Atta has dismissed claims that the Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration has initiated actions to finance its free Senior High School (SHS) policy with petroleum revenues kept in the Heritage Fund.
According to the Ken Ofori Atta, government has made budgetary allocation to finance the free SHS policy however, the assertion that the Heritage fund will be used is untrue.
This is contrary to Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo disclosure that government intent utilising the fund for the free SHS policy hinted to cost government in excess of GH¢3 billion per annum, assuming the 1.6 million Ghanaians within the SHS age bracket are to be enrolled within the first year of the policy.
‘’Government will initiate the process of amending the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) to allow government tap into the Ghana Heritage Fund to finance its free Senior High School policy’’ he noted.
Commenting on this at a Graphic Business/ Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting held in Accra, Mr. Osafo Maafo said government will finance the program through the country’s Heritage Fund.
The Heritage fund was set up to support the country’s future generations when the oil reserves are depleted. Nine percent of the country’s annual petroleum revenue is paid into the fund.
The latest semi-annual report on the Ghana Petroleum Funds from the Bank of Ghana shows that the Heritage Fund currently has a balance of US$276,962,291, showing a -2.99 percent interest decline compared to what was recorded in first half of 2016.
About 1.6 million eligible students between the ages of 15-17 years across the country, are expected to benefit from government’s free Senior High School policy.