General News of Thu, 26 Jul 201813

Ofori-Atta 'realistic'; Free SHS unsustainable – Bagbin

Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has said that Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta was being honest when he said the Free Senior High School programme should not be free for all.

“The Minister of Finance is just being realistic, he is being candid and I think that my friends in his government should take that as an advice and maybe re-look at the policy,” Mr Bagbin said on Thursday, 26 July 2018.

The Nadowli-Kaleo MP and flag bearer-hopeful of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) told Moro Awudu on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show that: “The Minister of Finance knows the kitty and he knows the pressure that is on him. He knows how he is suffering to be able to rope in the resources to sustain the Free Senior High School Policy”.

Mr Ofori-Atta had said that the Free SHS policy must be implemented discriminatorily so that those who have the means are made to pay for their children’s second-cycle education.

Speaking to Bernard Avle in an interview on Citi TV, Mr Ofori-Atta said: “I don’t think it [Free SHS] is something any of us can compromise on”, adding that: “It may be that there have to be changes in the way in which we are administering it”.

“I can’t take my child to Achimota or Odorgonno and then leave him or her and drive away and Ken Ofori-Atta not pay anything while I can pay for 10 people. … You need to get the data to then be discriminatory in how and who pays and who doesn’t pay”, he said.

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Speaking about the next academic year, he said: “You actually going to have, maybe, 180,000 more people but it’s so important, you’d rather make that mistake – if it is a mistake – to get everybody in the system for the nation to then begin to have a conversation and say: ‘OK, this is good for us because we want that human capital and to a certain level, but maybe let’s begin to adjust it this way’”.

“It just came out of him [Mr Ofori-Atta] that look: this thing it is not possible we can’t sustain it if we go that way, why not just look at those who can’t pay and allow those who can pay to pay?” Mr Bagbin said.

For him, the Free SHS policy was rushed through without the needed infrastructure, human resource and other necessities put in place first.



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