Business News of Fri, 16 Mar 201811

Introduce tax bill to fund free SHS - Afenyo Markin

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Effutu, Alex Afenyo Markin, has urged government to find the most sustainable way that seeks to address the funding gap in its flagship free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

According to him, it is crucial for government to sustain the programme, and hence imposing a special tax to finance it is the way to go.

Speaking on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM, the Effutu lawmaker said government should be prepared to “look rather aggressively at a reliable means of funding the free SHS” adding “we’ve been bold in introducing/initiating the policy, we should equally be bold in addressing the funding challenges other than that there may be problem; people will still punch holes into the policy.”

For him, the Free SHS programme will always reel from funding crisis, if there is no special tax to complement the sector’s budgetary allocation.

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“I always say that to the extent that President Kufuor introduced the National Health Insurance policy and embedded in that policy a taxation which was quickly brought to sustain it, we can always repeat that laudable initiative in every other policy or programme. Look President Mahama was also bold, and I’m sure he got advice from some good thinking Ghanaians who said, look, go the Kufuor direction. So you realised that all the noise that was made about the Youth Employment Programme is no more because there is sustainable funding. They[NDC] realised that they were struggling and they were smart in introducing the Youth Employment Bill”

“So we can do same for the free SHS and any other critical policy. The Ghanaian economy is a growing economy and If we want to embrace the call for “Ghana beyond Aid” agenda, this is the way we can ensure the discipline”

Parliament on Wednesday, March, 14, 2018 approved GH¢924,804,543 for the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the 2018 fiscal year.

Mr. Afenyo Markin said in view of the huge cost involved in the funding of the Free SHS, it is not prudent for the government to continue relying on the GETFund and other national pool of resources to power the programme[free SHS], because they have been tied to specific areas in the management of the economy.

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