Free SHS: Increase taxes for parents who want to pay – Government urged

General News of Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

2018-11-27

John Mensah believes parents ‘fighting’ to pay their wards fees can fund government through taxes

Government has been asked to target for more taxations for parents opposed to free senior high school education.

John Mensah who described himself as a pastor argued that if parents are so desirous of paying for their children’s senior secondary education then they should offer to rather pay more taxes.

He was speaking at Joy News’ elaborate assessment of the Akufo-Addo government after nearly two years in power.

At the 10-Hour program called Scorecard, John Mensah expressed unflinching support for the education policy of free Senior High School education rolled out in September 2017.

In less than nine months into the Akufo-Addo government, the policy was executed leading to record enrolment numbers in Ghana’s 578 public senior high schools.

The policy has been costly. Some 1.7bn cedis or more than $500m has been sunk into absorbing financial responsibilities parents used to shoulder.

But criticism of the policy and its implementation have been increasing.

At a Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting November 13, 2018, a cross-section of participants suggested they will pay for their ward’s education as long as they are guaranteed quality education.

The discussion anchored by Joy News presenter Evans Mensah asked “who is willing to pay for your child even when there is a policy to make it free?”

A majority of hands went up at the Labadi Beach Hotel where the topic “financing free quality education in Ghana – Sustainable funding options.”

But at the same Labadi Beach hotel venue in Accra, the subject of free education was revisited.

A participant John Mensah said he found it difficult to understand Ghanaians parents claiming they can afford to pay tuition but are opposed to paying more taxes to fund government’s programs.

He claimed secondary education is free for most of Europe because there is the understanding that “education is life.”

He said he was one of only nine out of a class of 48 at Winneba Anglican School who were able to further their education after sitting Common Entrance in the 70s.

He suggested his other colleagues could have continued if education was free and indicated government must do everything possible to sustain free SHS.

John Mensah advised that “for the parents who say they have money to pay…let us increase the taxes for those parents and it will be well for us.”

scoreboard income tax

According to Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) only about 1.2 million are registered for tax purposes. According to this 2017 data, 200,000 of the registered taxpayers are in the informal sector.

People with more spending power are deemed to belong to the middle-income bracket. The middle class are said to be those who make a daily income of at least $8.44 (more than 40 cedis) – exceeds 1m people.

There are about one million belonging to this category although other resources provide a larger number.

An African Development Bank study in 2011, put nearly one in five Ghanaians in the middle class – either lower or upper middle class.

These 4.6m Ghanaians have a per capital daily consumption of between $4 to $20.

The rich class in Ghana, according to the study, are those who spend more than $20 (100 cedis) per day.

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