General News of Monday, 20 February 2017
A former deputy finance minister, Mrs Mona Helen Quartey, has cast doubt on government’s ability to fulfil the free SHS policy this year. The New Patriotic Party NPP) government’s flagship programme, according to President Akufo-Addo, will start from September 2017.
However, there has been controversy over the funding of the free SHS policy after Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo said the government would be considering using the Oil and Gas Heritage Fund to finance it.
The Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has publicly dismissed the proposition by Senior Minister Yaw Osafo- 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, also in a discussion on Joy FM’s News File last Saturday disproved 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.
Programme lacks clarity
But the former minister of the erstwhile Mahama administration, Mona Quartey, said on News File that there were several factors the ruling government might have to contend with that would have far-reaching consequences on the sustainability of the programme.
She said there seemed to be no carefully thought-out plan to make the programme operational this year.
“Where is that action plan?” she questioned, saying the programme lacked clarity following the controversy on what source of funding could even be tapped to implement the Free SHS policy.