•Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum — Minister of Education
•Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum — Minister of Education

GH¢5.12bn spent on free SHS — Minister

THE government expended a total of GH¢5.12 billion for the implementation of the free senior high school (SHS) programme between 2017 and 2021, the Minister of Education Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has told Parliament. 

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The amount fell short of the GH¢7.62 billion approved budget the ministry requested from the Ministry of Finance for the implementation of the programme during the five-year period.

“During the period under review, the Ministry of Finance released a total of GH¢5.18 billion to the Ministry of Education for the execution of the free SHS programme,” the minister said.

Question  

Dr Adutwum, who is also the New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Bosomtwe in the Ashanti Region made this know when he responded to a question from the National Democratic Congress MP for Akatsi North, Peter Kwesi Nortsu-Kotoe, who is also the Ranking Member on the Education Committee.

The MP asked the minister to provide information on how much the government had spent on the free SHS programme between 2017 and 2021 in view of the conflicting figures on how much the government had committed so far.

Responding, Dr Adutwum said the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo introduced the free SHS programme to improve access and quality of secondary education in Ghana.

He said the programme, since its inception, had contributed to improving learning outcomes in second cycle institutions. 

Breakdown

Giving a breakdown of the expenditure, he said while the Ministry of Education approved a budget of GH¢400 million in 2017, the Ministry of Finance released GH¢480 million out of which GH171.77 million was spent.

For 2018, out of the GH¢1.13 billion budget allocation, the Finance Ministry released GH¢1.13 billion, with GH¢904 million expended.

In 2019, out of the GH¢1.68 budget allocation, the Finance Ministry released GH¢1.28 billion out of which GH¢1.08 billion was spent on the programme.

During 2020, Dr Adutwum said out of the GH¢2.42 billion budget allocation, the Finance Ministry released GH¢1.40 billion and GH¢1.75 billion was expended, while in 2021, out of the GH¢1.97 billion budget allocation, the Finance Minister only released GH877.7 million, with GH¢1.19 billion spent. 

Reservation

Unsatisfied with the answer given, the Ranking Member told the House that when the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta presented last year’s mid-year budget, he told the House that the government had spent over GH¢7 billion on the free SHS programme between 2017 and 2021.

The figure, he said, was contrary to the GH¢5.12 billion the Ministry of Education had told the House.

With a difference of GH¢2 billion expenditure, he said the government must be made to account for the difference.

He also recalled that during 2020, when the country experienced the COVID-19 outbreak, schools were closed down in March 2022 until the following year and therefore did not expect the GH¢1.7 billion that was spent in 2020.

He, therefore, asked the minister to tell the House what the released amount was used for as schools were not in session at the time.

Responding, Dr Adutwum said: “Mr Speaker, this is House of records and I will not attempt to make any assumptions about something as serious as expenditure figures.”  

“So, Mr Speaker I crave your indulgence to go back and take a look at the details and report to this House accordingly,” he said.

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