Yaw Osafo Maafo
Government has hinted it intends to review the Heritage Fund Component in the Petroleum Management Act so as to use the proceeds to finance its Free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
Dr. Yaw Osafo Maafo, Senior Minister, who made this known at a breakfast meeting in Accra, said the decision had become imperative because government intends to invest some sizeable amount of revenue generated from the oil industry to fund major sectors, including education since that would ensure good foundation for the country.
Mr Osafo-Maafo also downplayed the assertions that major tax cuts by the government would result in financial loopholes in government revenue.
He said government, in its 2017 budget, would abolish taxes like the special import levy, 5 Percent tax on real estate and reduce the 17.5 percent VAT on small and micro businesses to a flat rate of 3 percent.
“We are going to remove the taxes, we will reduce some and bring some,” he said, adding that “government will introduce a lot of measures to maximize revenue” he ended.
Government has also announced that it would fund the cost of public SHS for all those who qualified for entry from the 2017/2018 academic year onwards.
President Nana Addo, who disclosed this over the weekend, said once the policy comes into effect, there would be no admission fees, library fees, science centre fees, computer lab fees, examination fees and utility fees.
Furthermore, the President said in addition to tuition, which was already free, there would be free textbooks, boarding and meals, as also day students would get a free meal at school.
“Free SHS will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level. I also want to state clearly again that we have a well-thought-out plan that involves the building of new public Senior High Schools and cluster public Senior High Schools,” he added.
Education experts have questioned the source of funds to implement one of the key campaign promises of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2012, as well as 2016 elections.
Even though the cost of the policy was yet to be ascertained, the last time government absorbed part of the fees, it paid GHC12 million to cover the cost of implementing the policy for 313,301 day students.