Minority vindicated on concerns on Free SHS funding gaps

Haruna Iddrisu

The Minority in Parliament on Wednesday said it has been vindicated by government’s move to establish a special fund to support the Free Senior High School Policy.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader and Member of Parliament for Tamale South, told the media that they had been vindicated based on their earlier concerns raised on funding gaps in the Policy if government was to rely on petroleum receipts alone.

Mr Iddrisu was interacting with the media after Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, presented the 2018 Budget and Economic Policy Statement to Parliament, in Accra.

The Finance Minister told Parliament that the Government would establish a special fund to ensure voluntary contributions from the public towards supporting educational institutions and the Free SHS, in order to facilitate inclusive education for all children of school going-age.

In addition, he said, government would absorb the registration fees of all candidates who would write the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) in 2018.

Mr Iddrisu, however, said in view of the huge financial demand for funding the education Policy, government could not have relied on petroleum receipts alone considering the unpredictable petroleum prices on the world market.

He said in 2016, government’s petroleum receipts was around 93 million dollars, far below government’s projections, therefore, the move to solicit for contributions from the public hinged on the concerns raised by the Minority side.

Commenting on some macroeconomic indicators mentioned by the Finance Minister as achievements by government, Mr Iddrisu said the statistics Mr Ofori-Atta relied on gave course for concern because they included figures from June, September and October, therefore making it difficult to accept the authenticity of those statistics.

The Minority Leader noted that some of the economic targets set by the Government for 2018 was unrealistic and should be careful raising the expectations of Ghanaians, saying; “Politics is expectation management”.

He added that government failed to provide budget estimates for the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, which call for concerns.

Mr Ofori-Atta, in the 2018 Budget and Economic Policy, raised the expectations of most unemployed youth by promising to create 100,000 jobs for the unemployed graduates through the “National Builders Corps,”  sanitation programmes and revenue mobilisation among other initiatives.

The Finance Minister also announced that 250,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created through the 191 enterprises that would be established under the One District One Factory Programme next year.

In addition, each of the 216 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies would be given two million dollars under the One Constituency One Million promised in the New Patriotic Party Manifesto, which would create more employment opportunities.

Mr Ofori-Atta gave the assurance that government would consolidate the macroeconomic indicators made so far by reducing the budget deficit from 9.4 per cent to 6.8 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), ensure GDP growth of 5.4 per cent, reduce the inflation rate to a single digit, reduce electricity tariffs by 13 per cent for residential and non-residential areas, as well as guide fiscal space for government to invest in physical infrastructure that would propel economic growth.

The Budget presentation to Parliament is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution.

READ ALSO: 2018 budget: Ghanaians to contribute to Free SHS funding

Source: GNA | Ghana

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