The Nana Akufo-Addo Government has been encouraged to immediately pass the Mineral Revenue Management Act to serve as an additional source of funding for the free Senior High School (SHS) programme.
“ACEP recommends that the government should pass the promised Mineral Revenue Management Act to create additional sources of funds from solid minerals to finance the free SHS policy,” the policy think tank stated in a 10-page document analyzing the 2018 budget with regards to oil and gas.
A number of analysts and civil society organizations have criticized government’s free SHS programme which they claim is not sustainable due to the lack of a solid funding source.
The government, in the 2018 budget statement, allocated an amount of GHc1 billion for the free SHS programme.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, while presenting the budget statement to Parliament said government is also in the process of setting up a fund to receive voluntary contributions from individuals to support the implementation of the free SHS.
ACEP in its analysis also urged the government to educate the public on the voluntary contributions.
“…The government should sensitize the public about the existence of an opportunity to voluntarily contribute to the GETFund to finance the free SHS policy.”
Below are the recommendations ACEP made on the free SHS initiative:
a.ACEP recommends that the government should pass the promised Mineral Revenue Management Act to create additional sources of funds from solid minerals to finance the free SHS policy.
b.In light of the risk of petroleum price volatility and its effects on the ABFA, the government should pay attention to investment attraction in the upstream sector to spread revenue generation risks from the three oil fields currently operational. ACEP insists that existing non-performing petroleum agreements should immediately be reviewed and, where necessary, be re-awarded to companies that possess the requisite capacities to meet contractual obligations. These will ensure speedy off-shore activities to increase the likelihood of revenue generation from upstream oil and gas sector, and thus increase ABFA allocations to the free SHS policy.
c.The Government of Ghana should also consider amending the GETFund Act to re-focus investments, both infrastructure and recurrent, on both basic and secondary levels of education. The National Education Fund-Raising Committee of the GETFund Board should be constituted, if not existent, and strengthened to generate funds through grants, donations, gifts and other voluntary contributions in accordance with section 3(d) of Act 581 to support the free SHS policy. Also, the government should sensitise the public about the existence of opportunity to voluntarily contribute to the GETFund to finance the free SHS policy.