Andrew Asiamah Amoako — Second Deputy Speaker
Andrew Asiamah Amoako — Second Deputy Speaker

Parliament approves formula for GETFund distribution

Parliament has approved the proposed formula for the distribution of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the year 2023.

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Under the formula, GH¢1.87 billion will be allocated to the fund, a reduction of over 28 per cent of the GH¢2.60 billion allocated to the fund in 2022.

The money will be distributed for the promotion of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), completion of senior high school (SHS) projects, provision of basic schools, computer studies and technical education, among others.

Per the report of the Committee of the Whole signed by its Chairman, Andrew Asiamah Amoako, who is also the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, a total of GH¢97.54 million (4.5 per cent) has been allocated to the Ministry of Education and institutions and agencies within the education sector, including allocations for the GETFund’s operations, Youth Employment Agency and the Scholarships Secretariat.

Allocation

For the period under review, the tertiary sub-sector has been allocated GH¢170 million, 7.84 per cent of total expected inflow from the national budget for this year to support a range of activities and interventions.

The secondary education sub-sector has also been allocated GH¢167 million, 28.44 per cent of the total spending from the budget.

Besides, GH¢88.5 million (4.08 per cent) has been made for funding various projects and programmes in basic education, mostly for the procurement of basic education textbooks.

It was proposed that members of Parliament will receive support from the GETFund to enable them to undertake and monitor projects in their constituencies.
To that effect, GH¢31.62 million, representing 1.46 per cent of total spending, has been allocated for that purpose. 

Abandoned projects

The report said the committee observed that in 2022, the GETFund put in place a three-year project aimed at completing all of its abandoned projects.

It said as of December 31, 2022, a total of 2,405 projects had been completed during the period under review.

“These projects were financed mainly from the disbursements of the bond proceeds and the enhanced monitoring activities undertaken,” it said.

Fund’s bond after DDEP

The report said the committee was informed that out of a total of GH¢2.62 billion being the total bonds in the Register, a total amount of GH¢1.35 billion has been exchanged, leaving the total outstanding bonds of GH¢1.26 billion.

It said the Fund informed the committee that the remaining outstanding bonds  were expected to be exchanged within the shortest possible time.

“The committee was, however, informed that the ambitious goal of completing abandoned projects, cannot be achieved within the three-year time frame.

“Cost escalation as a result of rapid increase in prices due to the depreciation of the cedi against the major foreign currencies, coupled with high interest rates, continue to impact negatively on project costs,” it said. 

Pending committed projects

The report said the committee was also informed that the Fund had earmarked GH¢619.69 million required for pending projects to which contract was either awarded or committed.

“The Fund informed the committee that insufficient funding is adversely affecting its efforts to complete its programmes and projects across the country.

“The Fund, therefore, requested Parliament to urge the Ministry of Finance to make more resources available to the Fund to complete its programmes and projects,” the report said. 

Debt service account  

The committee observed that GH¢545.20 million was allocated for the servicing of the Daakye Bonds issued by the Fund for 2023, the report said.

It said the committee noted that as part of the debt restructuring programme as agreed with the International Monetary Fund, the Daakye Bonds had now been classified as a public debt and now formed part of the Government of Ghana debts.

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“As a result, the GETFUND is no longer responsible for the service of the debt and, therefore, ought not to be a part of activities for the Fund for 2023,” it said.

Recovery of shortfall for 2022

The committee observed that under the proposed distribution formula, GH¢619.69 million had been earmarked as recovery of 2022 shortfall.

The amount, the Fund explained, was in respect of 2022 arrears which when released would be used to clear all outstanding commitments.

Digitalisation of teaching and learning systems

The report said the committee observed that GH¢550 million was provided under the distribution formula for 2023 for the digitalisation of teaching and learning systems for SHS and TVET students.

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The Fund informed the committee that they entailed the provision of tablets fully loaded with all recommended e-textbooks, the full syllabus, past questions and examiner reports as well as other teaching aids.

“The goal of the programme is to reduce the cost of procuring textbooks and to prepare students for the ICT driven world.

“The tablets are cloud-based, making it easy for updates to be effected and come with solar packs to enable easy charging irrespective of location,” the report said. 

Funding gap

Per the report, the committee observed that for the year 2023, GH¢1,869,563,000 was allocated to the Fund in the 2023 budget statement presented to the House and approved by Parliament.

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It said the committee further noted that the total cost of the programme and activities contained in the proposed distribution formula amounted to GH¢2,169,563,000, leaving a shortfall of GH¢300,000,000.

“The Fund informed the committee that it engaged the Ministry of Finance over the issue and that the Fund had been assured that GH¢300,000,000 would be provided to the Fund to meet the gap,” the report added.

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