$156m World Bank Loan Is Chop Chop – Minority

The Minority vehemently opposed the approval of the loan and called for its rejection saying, ‘there are serious problems with the loan.’

The group, at a media briefing led by MP for Dormaa Central and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said the $15.9 million voted for ‘research, monitoring and evaluation,’ which is equivalent to GH¢51 million, would definitely end up in private pockets because it would not be used for any of these purposes since there is already an outfit at the Ministry of Education that monitors and supervises educational infrastructure in the country.

The NPP MPs also described the $15.6 million scholarship component of the loan, which is equivalent to GH¢50 million, as ‘fraudulent.’

They said if that amount was to be used to provide school bags, sandals, notebooks, pencils and sanitary pads for 10,400 students who would be enrolled in the 23 new senior high schools that would be constructed in some deprived districts under the loan, what would be the fate of students who would be enrolled in the additional 177 new senior high schools promised by President Mahama?

The Minority also noted that the scholarship scheme under the loan would not be sustainable because it would last for three years that the loan amount would be fully effected; and wondered why the World Bank could go ahead and give a loan of such magnitude to the government at a concessionary re-payment rate to finance recurrent expenditure such as the purchase of sandals, school bags, pencils and sanitary pads for a very limited number of senior high school students over a limited period of three years.

According to the opposition political party, ‘There are very serious problems with education at the basic level which ought to have engaged the attention of the government instead of going for such an amount to be used as scholarship and buy things like sanitary pads and school bags to be distributed free of charge to selected 10,400 students.

‘As we speak today, teachers at many of our basic schools cannot get chalk to teach pupils because government cannot provide funds for it. The capitation grant is in arrears for almost one year and the school feeding grant is also in arrears for more than one year in many districts,’ Kwaku Agyeman Manu said, stressing that ‘All that the government is interested in is to use such big money to give dubious scholarship to selected students and create a new scholarship secretariat besides the existing Ghana National Scholarship Secretariat to manage this transient scholarship programme, while the State scholarship secretariat is being starved of funds to manage students on State scholarships.

‘The NDC government is pursuing this ‘create, loot and share’ agenda to put state money into the pockets of cronies of the President and party foot soldiers.’

By Thomas Fosu Jnr

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