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Ghana government free SHS funding proposal questionable.

Government has been advised to establish a strong financial sustainability plan that would enable it to progress with the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) and the other social intervention programmes.

The advice forms part of SEND-Ghana’s recommendations, after a research conducted on the equity in resource allocations to education, health and social protection, and a scrutiny of the 2018 Annual Budget to these sectors.

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Mrs Harriet Nuamah-Agyemang, the Programme Officer of SEND-Ghana, explained that government’s proposal in the 2018 Budget Statement, to set up a voluntary fund to finance the Free SHS Programme, lacked clarity, in terms of how much was being targeted, how that target was going to be met, and how the initiative answered the question of sustainability.

Mrs Nuamah-Agyemang stated at a round-table organized by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) in Accra, which attracted participants from the academia, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), policymakers, implementers and the media.The meeting was to explore the nexus between budget allocation and inequality, focusing on Education, Health and Social Protection.

Mrs Nuamah-Agyemang said government needed to answer questions on prioritisation and equity in these three areas, stating that, the gaps at the basic level of education must be adequately addressed in order to build a stronger foundation for Ghanaian children.

She said, “in this respect, enough funds should be allocated for basic education. In addition, parents who can easily afford to pay for SHS for their wards must be allowed to do so to save funds to support poor parents to take their wards through basic education”.

The government, she said, must also ensure that funds allocated were timely disbursed in their entirety to strengthen the management systems of schools, so that the directorates of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) could implement all pro-poor policy interventions such as the Capitation grant, Free SHS and examination subsidies among others.

The presentation by SEND-Ghana further proposed that government increase allocation to capital expenditure (CAPEX) in the 2018 Supplementary budget by earmarking a significant proportion of revenues from the extractive non-renewable sector and other sources such as the Talk Tax, and ensure the judicious expansion of the GETFund of over GHC928 million.

Mrs Nuamah-Agyemang said the expansion of the GETFund allocation was necessary to address the infrastructural deficit at the Basic and Senior High School levels, especially as has been exposed by the implementation of the Free SHS.

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