The Executive Director of the African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), Ben Boakye, has warned government’s Free Senior High School programme might fail if allocated funds to the programme are not tracked.
According to him, there must be transparency and accountability to ensure that such allocations truly benefit the programme.
“It is not just about raising revenue to say we are supporting free SHS, but which specific items are receiving the fund for the sectors, and how can we track it as a people to ensure that the monies are not sipping or diverted into pockets, but rather going to finance education or infrastructure. If we don’t do that, we continue to spend and the outcome will not be the way we want. We are spending so much on education, and yet the challenges are not going away, it means that we need to track how revenue is spent and how the monies that are allocated to ministry of education are performing, and that is the only way we can guarantee real success in the education service” he said
A research report launched by ACEP on Tuesday, revealed that there was no value for money in oil revenue-funded educational projects in three Senior High Schools. The report noted that the projects had no impact on student performance nor welfare, and that contracts for all three projects were awarded through selective tendering with only one complete.
Others incurred budget overruns to the tune of GhC1million. ACEP reprimanded the Ministries for what it calls centralized corruption.
According to the 2015 report on the petroleum Holding Funds, an amount of GHC 61,006.75 was disbursed for the rehabilitation of the science resource center at Nalerigu SHS, but since 2015 when ABFA was disbursed to date, no rehabilitation work has happened on the science resource center in Nalerigu SHS.
In 2015, a sum of GHC243,805.49 from oil revenues was disbursed to Swedru school of business (SWESBU) for the construction of 2,500 seater capacity assembly dining hall with an attached kitchen. The project was assessed to provide an evidence-based evaluation of the progress of work done, and how efficiently the funds have been spent on the project since it was awarded. The project has currently been stalled due to non-disbursement of funds to complete it.
“We are centralizing corruption in our country, the Ministry of Education and all the other ministries, they want to spend in Accra so that they can control the money. If you have a project all the way in Nalerigu, why would want to award the contract in Accra when there are local contractors, the community members are there, the district assembly is there, who can engage the contractors and supervise them, so they send these projects to the community, they keep the money in Accra, and projects don’t get done and yet they get paid”Ben Boakye said.
The only recent rehabilitation was completed in 2012; after the Ministry of Education had awarded a contract in 2011, through multiple sole-sourcing to Messr Zidra Fisheries & Enterprise limited to renovate the science resource center at a contract sum of about GHC104,659.53.
The project was however executed and completed in 2012 by AL RAS ENT, a sub-contractor who is based in Bolgatanga.
“Why would someone register a company as a fishery, and later become a construction company. These are interesting prompts that demand that we continue to track how people get contracts, and how they deliver them. For all you know, these are politicians, who are setting up companies and they can move them to any project anywhere they find across the country, so need to begin to track who are behind these companies and how they get contracts in the first place” he said.