By Maxwell Ofori
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Akatsi North, Peter Norstu Kotoe, has expressed worry over the 25% reduction of the funds allotted to the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) by the current government.
Speaking exclusively to The Chronicle in Parliament on Tuesday, the Ranking Member on the Education Committee noted that the reduction would hinder the progress of activities done through the GETFund.
“What this means is that if, in 2016, there was construction of 50 school blocks through GETFund, this year, it cannot be achieved as a result of the reduction,” he said.
The reduction, he explained, would have a negative effect on projects that should have been executed with the Fund.
According to him: “Every year we expect more money to be given to GETFund. Over the years, there has been at least one million cedis increase, so this year, we expected around GH¢1.1 billion going to GETFund, but now it has been capped by 25%.”
Parliament, yesterday, approved a proposed formula for the distribution of an amount of GH¢790 million for the GETFund for the year 2017.
But according to the Ranking Member on the Education Committee, the formula did not indicate sub-sector allocations.
To him, the country should know “how much is going to tertiary, how much is going to secondary, how much is going to basic, how much is going to Ghana Education, and how much is going to GETFund itself.”
He added that the absence of the sub-sector allocations could open the floodgates for the money allocated to GETFund to be used anyhow.
He described the formula for the distribution as “a blanket formula” that the Nana Akufo-Addo led government would want Parliament to approve.
He argued that if the government wanted to construct school blocks for some of the basic schools through the GETFund, it should have been stated in the formula, and how much would go into it.
The previous administration allocated an amount of GH¢1 billion to the GETFund to undertake its activities, meanwhile, there has been a 25% reduction, bringing the amount to about GH¢790 million.
Details of spending
Meanwhile, the House has permitted an amount of GH¢790,224,149 to be disbursed to the GETFund.
The approved amount is for distribution to some specific areas of the education sector, to aid development.
According to a report by the Education Committee, a total amount of GH¢255,500,000 is expected to be spent on tertiary education, while GH¢242,019,149.10 would go into financing some projects in the second cycle schools.
Additionally, GH¢222,755,000 would be spent on basic education, while an amount of GH¢50,400,000 would be spent on the GETFund Secretariat and the Ministry of Education.
That notwithstanding, an amount of GH¢15,125,000, representing 1.91%, would be spent on MPs Emergency Projects, while the remaining amount of GH¢4,425,000, representing 0.56%, goes to financing monitoring of these projects.
The Fund, the report said, would be used in financing new areas of focus, such as fencing of schools with high risk encroachment; provision of white boards in schools; construction of kindergarten facilities and regulatory and policy reforms.
Moving the motion for the adoption of the proposed formula for the distribution of the GETFund for the year 2017 on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the Board was guided by some factors in arriving at the formula for the distribution of the Fund.
Key amongst them are Promotion of the study of Mathematics, Science and Technology; Advancement of female education; Reduction in the high level of illiteracy in historically disadvantaged areas; Promotion of computer, vocational and technical education and training, and Equitable allocation of funds to the District at the Pre-Tertiary level of education.
He further told the House that the structure and spending for the year 2017 Formula is aligned to the education sector’s priority projects and programmes.
Notable among them are; academic facilities and infrastructure, scholarships; allocation of funds to the Students Loan Trust Fund; procurement of teaching and learning materials; and demystifying and popularizing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (SMET)/ Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, however, expressed concern about the delays in the payment of accruals to the GETFund, noting that such delays adversely affect the implementation of planned projects and programmes.
He, therefore, urged the Ministry of Finance to ensure the timely release of the funds to avoid delays of planned projects and programs.
He also told the House about the urgent need to amend the GETFund Act 2000 (Act 851) to enable the fund perform more efficiently.
A key issue, which he raised in connection to his proposed amendment of the GETFund Act, is the membership of the Board of Trustees of the fund, comprising 17 persons, as provided in Section 6 of Act 581.
“In the opinion of the committee, the present composition is too large and must be reviewed,” he noted.By Maxwell Ofori The Member of Parliament (MP) for Akatsi North, Peter Norstu Kotoe, has expressed worry over the 25% reduction of the funds allotted to the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) by the current government. Speaking exclusively to The Chronicle in Parliament on Tuesday, the Ranking Member on the Education Committee noted that the […] Read Full Story