The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has debunked claims of government’s intention to finance the free Senior High School (SHS) programme with the Heritage Fund.
His statement contrasts sharply with an earlier assertion by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo that government would review the Petroleum Management Act to allow for the use of the Heritage Fund to finance the free Senior High School (SHS) policy scheduled to start in September 2017.
Public and civil organisations concerns since Osafo Maafo's revelation have cautioned the government not to touch the funds meant for future generations.
But Citi FM quotes the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta as saying that government does not intend to finance the programme from the Heritage Fund. He however promised a funding details in the government's budget expected early March.
“We are financing the Free SHS education without looking at the Heritage Fund. We are not touching the Heritage Fund", he is quoted as saying.
He further stated that the country has enough resources to be able to finance the promised free SHS without touching the Heritage Fund.
“I am not sure we are considering the use of Heritage Fund to finance the Free SHS. I think we have enough resources from our envelop to be able to do that without touching the Heritage Fund. I don’t expect us to use the Heritage Fund to finance the free SHS.” he stressed.
“There is going to be a budgetary allocation for that and it does not include the Heritage Fund. We have to wait for the budget. There is still a lot of work to be done before March 2, or so when the budget will be read,” he noted.
But the Finance Minister also attempted a restatement of what the Senior Minister may have said last Tuesday at the Graphic Business-Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting in Accra that has since been the source of raging debates over the propriety of touching the fund.
The Senior Minister had said the government would review the Petroleum Management Act to allow for the use of the Heritage Fund to finance the free SHS but the Finance Minister now says that is not what he said, but that it could be a funding source.
"As far as I know, the Senior Minister alluded at looking at all the options for us to be able to finance education,” Ken Ofori Atta is quoted to have told Citi FM.