General News Thu, 16 Feb 2017

We support government use of Heritage Funds for free SHS - AFAG

Pressure group Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) says it is in support of the Akufo-Addo-led government using the Heritage Fund to execute the free senior high school (SHS) programme.

The group, however, adds that any money government uses must be considered as a loan which should be paid in the next three years.

They have two proposals for government to consider for future funding of the free SHS programme which was one of the campaign promises which brought the New Patriotic Party (NPP) into power.

Over the weekend, president Nana Akufo-Addo announced that government would fund the cost of public for all those who qualify for entry from the 2017/2018 academic year onwards.

He explained that by free SHS there would be no admission fees, no library fees, no science centre fees, no computer lab fees, no examination fees and no utility fees.

There have been a feisty debate about how the policy will be funded.

Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo is reported to have said at a forum in Accra on Wednesday that the Heritage Fund is one of the options government is considering to finance the programme.

This has been met with a lot of public backlash with civil society groups opposing the idea.

The Heritage Fund was set up to support the country’s future generations when the oil reserves are depleted. And for this to be achieved, nine percent of the country’s annual petroleum revenue is paid into the Fund every year.

At a press conference at the SSNIT Guest House in Accra Thursday, the General Secretary of the group, Arnold Boateng who announced AFAG's support also proposed that government must set up an SHS Fund to serve as vehicle to fund the policy

The group also proposed that government must consider using some monies accrued from taxes to fund the programme adding that the proposed reduction on some taxes by the government should be suspended so that money be used to fund the free SHS.

More soon...

Source: Myjoyonline.com
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