The Education Minister, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, has strongly dismissed claims that starting next year, students who qualify for free SHS would be denied access if their parents do not have TAX Identification Numbers (TIN).The Education Minister’s claim is in sharp contradiction to the statement by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta, who stated during the 2019 Budget presentation to Parliament, that Parents whose children have been enrolled under the Free SHS programme risk being exempted from the Policy starting September 2019 if they fail to register for a TIN.
Additionally, Mr. Ofori Atta added that parents without a TIN would not be able to register for the National Health Insurance Scheme, acquire a passport, register their vehicles and land, open bank account and access other public services.
Subsequently Director of Revenue at the Finance Ministry, Anthony Dzadra, in an interview with Starr News admonished parents to acquire their numbers before the next academic year or risk paying for fees of their children.
During a budget debate on the floor of Parliament Wednesday, ranking member on the Education Committee of Parliament Peter Nortsu raised the issue to seek further clarification.
But surprisingly, Mr. Opoku Prempeh dismissed the claims describing them as complete falsehood.
According to him, it is not captured anywhere in the 2019 budget that qualified students will be prevented from benefiting from the free SHS policy if their parents do not have a TIN.
“As the Minister of Education, I cannot sit in this chamber while for palpable falsity to be spewed, where in this budget is it stated that if you don’t have TIN you cannot benefit from free SHS, you cannot make your own policy and announce on behalf of free SHS,” Dr. Opoku Prempeh said.
The TIN is a unique 11-digit number that is a requirement under the Revenue Administration Act (RAA) 2016 (Act 915). Obtaining a TIN is a requirement for any taxpayer to transact business with ease.