General News of Sat, 25 Aug 201867
Funding Free SHS hasn’t been easy – Nana Addo confesses
President Akufo-Addo has admitted that a huge chunk of the country’s resources has been invested into the implementation of the government’s flagship Free Senior High School programme.
He said it hasn’t been easy for the state finding money to fund the programme.
Speaking at a meeting with the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Jubilee House, Akufo-Addo said despite the challenges, the government is determined to sustain the Free SHS programme.
“I know it hasn’t been an easy matter for the nation finding the resources and the determination to do it [Free SHS] but I believe that if for nothing, my period of the stage of Ghana should be identified with ensuring that every Ghanaian child, no matter the circumstances of their birth, no matter where they live in our country, has access to a minimum of secondary school education to be able to prepare them to live in this 21st century. It is a commitment that I have made and I am not turning back on it and I believe it is a commitment now that the Ghanaian people have accepted as part of the educational architecture of our nation,” Akufo-Addo said.
Following news of plans by the government to implement the Free SHS program in 2017, the source for funding the programme became a subject for major public discussions.
The government eventually confirmed that it would use the country’s oil revenue to fund the programme.
President Akufo-Addo while delivering a keynote address at the 2018 Oxford Africa Conference, at the University of Oxford in May 2018 said, “we are using some of the income from our oil revenue to fund the programme. I believe strongly that this is the most equitable and transparent use of the oil revenue, instead of it finding its way into the pockets of politicians and bureaucrats.”
For the first year of the programme, the government spent about GHS198 million ($45m) and had committed GHS453 million ($103m) of the country’s oil revenue to the programme for 2018.
Free SHS has thrown the budget out of gear – Terkper
Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper is urging the government to put in place proper measures to finance the Free Senior High School (SHS) project.
According to him, the high cost of the project is already throwing the government’s budget out of gear.
“For me, I’m looking at the figures…Out of GHc240 million that was going into the ABFA [Annual Budget Funding Amount] to be used for good and services, GHc211.11 million went into the free SHS…So is that which is causing some of the misalignment in the budget,” he added.