The former Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has expressed fears about the sustainability of the free Senior High School policy. He observed that the lack of dedicated source of funding could be the greatest threat to the implementation of the policy. Speaking on Yensempa morning show on Onua FM hosted by Bright Akwasi Asempa, the former Deputy Minister who is also the MP for North Tongu prayed quality and standards of education would not be compromised.
Even though President Akufo-Addo said the policy would be funded with revenues from oil and other natural resources, Mr. Ablakwa is demanding further clarification. The legislator is of the view that the oil money alone is not enough to make the policy a success because Ghana only has 13% of the oil proceeds. Ablakwa noted that the government would have to possibly introduce new taxes to support the policy. It would be difficult for Ghanaians to accept new taxes in the face of promised by the government, then in opposition, to reduce taxes.
This, he said, is an albatross on the neck of the current administration. Okudzeto Ablakwa observed that in 2018, government will need money for three terms and the policy would need at least a billion Ghana cedis for the 2018 academic year to implement the policy. “If we are struggling with over 400 million cedis in 2017, what will become of the free school in 2018 where over a billion cedis would be needed,” he wondered.
For instance, he noted that, when former president Rawlings introduced the GETFund, he increased VAT in 2000, and likewise under then president Kufuor VAT was a dedicated source for the National Health Insurance Scheme. There is therefore the need for a dedicated source of funding, he reiterated.
Nevertheless, the Chairman of the Ghana Education Service Council, Michael Nsowah who was on the Onua FM morning show was surprised that the opposition keeps hammering on claims that the oil money alone is not enough. Michael Nsowah who is a former Director General of GES said the program has just begun therefore when the need arises for an increase in the funding, the government will not hesitate to go back for approval to sustain it.