According to the finance minister, the Free SHS project has benefitted some 1.2 million Ghanaian children at the Senior High School level. This, he stated has resulted in parents and guardians saving GH¢ 2.2 billion.
He made this known on the floor of parliament on Thursday as he presented the 2020 Mid-year budget review.
“Mr. Speaker, in acknowledging that education is the primary driver for upward social and economic mobility, we rolled out a raft of policy measures to improve the opportunities of our people”.
“We invested GH¢3.2 billion to implement Free SHS, resulting in over 1.2 million teenagers being in secondary school now, looking forward to better opportunities in life. For their parents and families, this has translated into GH¢2.2 billion in savings. That is money that the State has put back into the pockets of Ghanaians all across the country”.
In addition, he said the government has also invested GH¢1.6 billion in the creation of jobs for about 100,000 youth through the flagship NaBCO programme.
“We have also invested in excess of GH¢1.6 billion in 100,000 jobless but educated young adults who had been ignored by the State and were in despair. Through the new NABCO initiative, they have been engaged in various state and private institutions, with some of them securing permanent jobs in the process. That is money in the pockets of our youth”.
Free SHS controversy
Former Finance Minister under the erstwhile Mahama administration, Seth Terkper has ordered the Akufo-Addo government to come clean with Ghanaians about, their source of funding for the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme.
This comes after the ruling New Patriotic Party, in May 2019 said the government has removed the Free SHS programme from the list of projects financed directly from Ghana's oil cash fund - Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).
According to Mr Terkper, despite the above-mentioned claims, the government is still making use of the oil revenue to fund the Free SHS programme, hence, the need for the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to fill Ghanaians in on why that action was taken.
He further alleged that aside government taking from money from ABFA, it has also borrowed US$2 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to keep the Free SHS programme up and running.
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