No more oil money for Free SHS

minister of eduation free shs

The government has decided to completely cut the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) allocation for its Free Senior High School programme.

This means the government will not spend proceeds from the country’s oil resources on the programme which is entering its third year of implementation.

A report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Education for the 2019 financial year stated that the ministry’s 2019 budgetary allocation of GH¢12.87 billion would not be sourced from the ABFA.

Of the GH¢12.87 billion allocated to the ministry to fund its programmes and activities, GH¢1.682 billion had been earmarked for the implementation of the Free SHS programme.

Given that the Scholarship Secretariat which operates under the Office of Government Machinery has been tasked to cater for the direct funding of the Free SHS programme since 2018, the GH¢1.682 billion budgetary allocation for the programme had been pencilled out of the total budgetary allocation to the ministry for the Scholarship Secretariat.

The amount has, however, been appropriately captured under the Office of Government Machinery, leaving the ministry with GH¢11.195 billion to cater for physical infrastructure and service delivery in education, a priority area that has been funded directly from the ABFA in the past.

The ABFA allocation to Physical Infrastructure and Service Delivery in Education in 2018 overshadowed allocations to other priority areas such as agriculture and service delivery in health.

For instance, out of the GH¢1.546.38 billion approved to be spent as ABFA in the year 2018, of which a total of GH¢610.18 million, representing 49.0 per cent of total ABFA receipts, education alone received over GH¢417 million.

Criticisms

Last year, the government reduced the ABFA allocation to the ministry by a staggering 95.3 per cent, from GH¢212 million in 2017 to GH¢10 million.

This followed stiff criticisms by civil society groups that it was risky for the government to rely solely on oil revenue to fund the free SHS programme, insisting that it must diversify its sources of funding for the programme due to the instability of oil prices on the world market.

The Minority in Parliament insisted that using oil money to fund the programme at the detriment of other sectors of the economy was unconstitutional, and threatened to head to court to seek redress.

To counter those assertions, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the use of the country’s oil revenues to fund the Free SHS programme was the most appropriate use of the funds.

“We are using some of the income from our oil revenue to fund the programme. I believe strongly that this is the most equitable and transparent use of the oil revenue, instead of it finding its way into the pockets of politicians and bureaucrats,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Govt U-turn

Despite the strong stance of the President to use proceeds from the country’s oil revenue to fund the programme which is one of its flagship initiatives, the GRAPHIC BUSINESS has learnt that the Ministry of Education was not allocated funds from the ABFA this year.

Restricting the funding of the programme with oil proceeds may spark off the vexed conversation about the sustainability and smooth run of the programme. 

 The Chairman of the Public Interest Accountability Committee, Dr Steve Manteaw, told the paper that his office had the understanding that the government was funding the Free SHS programme from the ABFA.

“My understanding is that the ABFA was catering for the fees of the SHS students, he said.

PRMA restrictions

In examining the use of oil revenue in the country, the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) states that after the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) receives its portion of oil profit, 70 per cent of the remaining profit must be lodged in the ABFA.

The law also stipulates that 70 per cent of the ABFA must be invested in infrastructure projects with the remaining 30 per cent to be allocated to priority areas, including education.

credit: graphic.com.gh

Publish on Apt

Do you have any Social, informational, educational or entertaining stuff that should be featured on www.aptnewsghana.com?

Please submit your stories, pictures, and videos to us via WhatsApp: +233548388489 or click on the icon on your screen. Alternatively, email us: aptnewsghana@gmail.com

RSS APO Group – Africa-Newsroom: latest news releases related to Africa

  • Coronavirus - Eswatini: COVID-19 update (27 January 2021) January 28, 2021
    Download logoHealth Minister Lizzie Nkosi announces five new COVID-19 deaths in Eswatini, taking total deaths to 522. "May their souls rest in peace." New cases: 221 Total cases: 15,051 Active cases: 4,608 New recoveries: 158 Total recoveries: 9,700 New deaths: 5 Total deaths: 522 Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Health, Government […]
  • Unique and more essential than ever January 28, 2021
    The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) (www.OPECFund.org) marks its 45th anniversary today. Since inception, the multilateral development finance institution has approved more than US$25 billion in essential financing for 135 partner countries.   Established in 1976 with a distinct mandate to drive development, strengthen communities and empower people, the OPEC Fund’s member […]
  • Coronavirus - Malawi: COVID-19 update (27 January 2021) January 28, 2021
    New cases: 830 Total active cases: 13,646 Lost to follow-up: 134 Total number of tests conducted: 135,066 (2,503 new) Total confirmed cases: 21,660 Total recovered: 7,249 (244 new) Outcome under investigation: 76 Total deaths: 555 (15 new)Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Health and Population, Republic of Malawi.Media filesDownload logo
  • Coronavirus - Rwanda: COVID-19 update (27 January 2021) January 28, 2021
    Total cases: 14,166 (+281) Recovered: 9,042 (+181) | 63.8% Active cases: 4,941 Tests: 853,238 (+4,156) Deaths: 183 (+2) | 1.3% Test positivity rate: 6.8%Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Health, Republic of Rwanda.Media filesDownload logo
  • Global pharma firm appoints South African MD to lead sub-Saharan Africa operations January 28, 2021
    International healthcare and pharmaceuticals group MSD (www.MSD.co.za) has appointed Zwelethu Bashman to be the next managing director of its operations in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. Mr Bashman will succeed Dr Priya Agrawal, who has been appointed chief behavioural science officer in global vaccines in the international operations of the company. Zwelethu joined MSD South Africa […]
  • Coronavirus - Nigeria: COVID-19 update (27 January 2021) January 28, 2021
    1,861 new cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria; Lagos-773 FCT-285 Oyo-138 Rivers-111 Plateau-92 Nasarawa-83 Kaduna-59 Enugu-57 Imo-57 Edo-43 Kano-27 Kwara-20 Ebonyi-19 Abia-17 Ogun-12 Osun-12 Katsina-8 Bayelsa-6 Bauchi-5 Delta-5 Borno-4 Jigawa-4 Zamfara-1Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).Media filesDownload logo
  • Coronavirus - Gambia: COVID-19 update (27 January 2021) January 28, 2021
    Active cases: 108 New cases: 7 New tests: 283 Total confirmed: 4,019 Recovered: 3,780 (+27) Deaths: 128 (+0)Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Health, The Gambia.Media filesDownload logo
  • NBA All-Star Voting presented by AT&T tips off Thursday, Jan. 28 January 27, 2021
    NBA All-Star Voting Will Be Available Across NBA.com, NBA App and Twitter; discussions Regarding Potential NBA All-Star Game Are Ongoing NBA (www.NBA.com) All-Star Voting 2021 presented by AT&T (ATT.com), the official 5G wireless network of the NBA, will tip off tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 28 at noon ET and conclude on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 11:59 p.m. […]
  • Coronavirus: UK in Cameroon COVID-19 Relief Caravan January 27, 2021
    Download logoIn solidarity with the Government of Cameroon’s efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the British High Commission in Yaounde led the British Business Community in Cameroon on a distribution campaign dubbed, “UK in Cameroon COVID-19 Relief Caravan”. The purpose was to handover personal protective equipment (PPE), to over 10,000 persons within […]
  • World’s largest survey of public opinion on climate change: a majority of people call for wide-ranging action January 27, 2021
    Download logoUNDP's "Peoples' Climate Vote" reflects over half the world's population after results processed by the University of Oxford. Sixty-four percent of people believe climate change is a global emergency, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The results of the Peoples’ Climate Vote, the world’s biggest ever survey of public opinion on climate change are published today. Covering 50 countries with over half of the world’s population, the survey includes over half a million people under the […]
About Editor 608 Articles
Joe Bright Nyarko Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.