Politics of Friday, 17 February 2017

Source: ghana-news.adomonline.com

Debate on Heritage Fund usage for free SHS premature – MP

A Member of Parliament for Bibiani-Anhweaso-Bekwai, Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu has described as premature criticisms about government’s decision to reserved oil revenue known as Heritage Fund to finance its free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

In his view, the Akufo-Addo led government should be given the opportunity to explain how it intends to utilise the funds before they criticise it.

The Minority in Parliament has kicked against Senior Minister Osafo-Maafo’s suggestion for government to consider using the Heritage Fund for the implementation of the free SHS policy this year. The fund has so far accrued almost $300 million, and some civil society groups have projected it will cost the government an estimated 3.5 billion Ghana cedis annually to implement the policy.

The Heritage Fund is one of the three accounts established under the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, and the fund receives 9 percent of petroleum revenues and was created for the country’s future generation.

But Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu maintained that it will be fatal for Ghana’s future if government taps into the reserved oil revenue.

He explained that the use of the Fund, which is nine percent of Ghana's oil revenue, might compromise the safety of the country because it was set aside to serve as a buffer during challenging economic times.

On Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Thursday, Hon. Aboagye-Gyedu said though the concerns of critics are legitimate, they should wait for the budget statement in the first week of March 2017.

According to him, the funding sources on how government intends to finance the free SHS policy will be made clear in the budget.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP, however, warned the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) might be disadvantaged if it opposes the policy.

“The NDC critic is politically motivated because they feel threatened by the success of the policy but I assure them free SHS will be a success” the Bibiani-Anhweaso-Bekwai stressed.

Hon. Aboagye-Gyedu urged the opposition to put the interest of the nation first if they want to remain relevant in Ghana’s body politic.