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General News of Sunday, 19 February 2017


Government lacks action plan to make ‘free SHS policy’ operational – Mona Quartey

Mona Helen Quartey,Former Deputy Finance Minister Mona Helen Quartey,Former Deputy Finance Minister

Former Deputy Finance Minister, Mona Helen Quartey has cast doubt on government’s ability to fulfill the free SHS policy this year.

The NPP government’s flagship programme, according to President Akufo-Addo will kickstart September, 2017.

However, there has been controversy over the aspect of funding in the free SHS policy after Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo said government will be considering Oil and Gas Heritage Fund to finance it.

The Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori Atta has publicly dismissed the proposition by Senior Minister Yaw Osarfo Maafo that government intends to run the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy with the Heritage Fund.

The Communication Director of the New Patriotic Party, NPP, Nana Akomea in a discussion on Joy FM’s News File Saturday also disapproved the position of Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo on the subject, insisting that the Senior Minister’s views were not informed by the policy position of the government, thus “he was thinking aloud”.

“So let’s wait and see what funding streams will be identified in both the Sectional Address and the Budget. And then we can debate the sustainability of those sources,” he added.

But the former Minister of the erstwhile Mahama administration, Mona Quartey said on Joy FM’s News File analyses programme that there are several factors the ruling government may have to contend with that would have far-reaching consequences on the sustainability of the programme.

She said there seemed to be no careful wrought plan to make the programme operational this year.

“Where is that action plan? she questioned, saying the programme lacks clarity following the controversy on what source of funding could even be tapped into to power the free SHS policy.

“…the Budget which the Minister of Finance, Ken spoke to that there is an envelope that he’s hoping to tap into, we are wondering which envelope that is in the context of the IMF programme that we’re in now and the fact that we’re even having difficulties achieving some of the targets of benchmarks that we’re supposed to achieve. And also in the absence of Central Bank funding.

So one would ask exactly how is this thing going to be done?