Fire For Fire: Demonstration Looms Over Food Shortages In SHSs
Executive Director of the Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, has posited for a revision in the free Senior High School (SHS) Policy.
According to him, it is high time beneficiaries of the policy are solely Junior High School (JHS) graduates from public schools whilst JHS graduates from private schools pay for their schooling at the SHS level.
He explained this revision will still see to government achieving its goal of making education accessible to all.
Kofi Asare revealed the government spends a maximum of GH₵2,000.00 annually on each boarding student under the free SHS program, an amount he believes is no big deal for parents of students from private Junior High Schools.
“We achieve the goal of all students receiving education at the Senior High School level with the revision of the free SHS policy. Students who graduated from private JHS should pay fees at the SHS level whilst those from gov’t JHS shouldn’t pay. Are we saying graduates from private JHSs cannot pay the GH₵2,000.00 per year spent on an individual under free SHS?” he asked Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show.
Kofi Asare noted that with this revision of the policy, the government should save about GH₵400 million, an amount he believes can be used to create more jobs and create opportunities for economic development for SHS graduates who cannot pursue tertiary education. “This amount saved can be used to protect the outcome of the free SHS policy.”
The educationist explained the revision of the policy does not mean government does not have enough to run the free SHS program, “but we are saying the money we are spending can be utilized effectively and efficiently to achieve the benefits of the free SHS with the monies saved used to protect the outcome of the free SHS.”
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, says the government’s flagship programme, the Free Senior High School initiative, is taking a huge toll on the national budget despite the country’s meagre resources.
The Asantehene did not only bemoan the financial impact of the policy, but also expressed concern about its possible impact on unemployment levels in the country.
“Considering the value to the nation, this must be one of the boldest policies of the nation but it also brings its challenges”, Otumfuo stressed.
The Akufo-Addo government has been under pressure to review its flagship Free SHS policy, as it takes a chunk of the country’s resources, and poses a threat to quality, although access has drastically improved.
SIM Card Re-Registration – Blocking Of Unregistered SIM Cards Postponed, Final Decision Next Week
The intended exercise to block all unregistered SIM cards effective tomorrow, Saturday, October 1st 2022, has been postponed.
According to new reports, a final decision on the next steps to be taken by the National Communication Authority (NCA) and the Ministry of Communications will be communicated to the public next week.
According to sources, a roadmap for the intended sim card blocking exercise is being drawn up and would be finalised by next week.
Under the new modalities, the punitive measures introduced earlier in September which were later scrapped would be brought back.
According to Graphic Online citing sources close to the decision-makers, subscribers who have done stage one (linked their Ghana Cards to their SIM cards via *404#) will have up to the end of the year to complete stage two of their registration.
Meanwhile, those who have not registered their SIMs at all, will be blocked from receiving calls, making calls, using data services, among other things.
Those blocked will however, be able to access *404# to start their registration, and also be able to receive their Unique codes via SMS.
$100m Crude Revenue Was Used To Pay GNPC Loan – Samuel Atta-Akyea
The Chairman of the Mines and Energy Commission of Parliament, Samuel Atta Akyea, has debunked claims by the minority that $100m oil revenue has gone missing from the Petroleum Holding Fund (PHF).
According to him, the funds were used to settle upfront, a loan taken from the Ministry of Finance by GNPC Subsidiaries which was used to purchase shares in the TEN and Jubilee oil fields on behalf of the state.
Atta Akyea said there might have been an administrative error in not placing the money in the fund before being used but there can be no doubt that the money was used to engage in activities which will inure to the benefit of the state.
“Well, I think it’s a storm in a teacup because sometimes the impression is being given that the money has been spirited away. There was an opinion from the attorney general to the effect that they needn’t place the money in that account for the simple reason that there’s a seven-per cent equity acquisition in the TEN and Jubilee fields by GNPC Subsidiary and they didn’t have the money so the ministry of finance borrowed them the money so they do this acquisition; they are trying to improve the governmental stakes in these petroleum blocks,” Atta Akyea said.
“When they [GNPC Subsidiaries] took the loan, they were unable to pay, so, they used the petroleum receipts due them to settle it, so, the ministry of finance took the money and paid for the loan upfront”, Mr Atta Akyea explained.
“The whole problem is simple: that the sheer fact that the money was not lodged in the PHF does not mean the money has been spirited away or stolen. … It’s all a balancing account but when push it to the political dimension that some money has been spirited away, it leaves much to be desired.
“The sum of money, if you look at it, is equal to the seven per cent equity stake that the government, through GNPC Subsidiary has acquired. Let’s look at it from that perspective. So, when somebody is using his ingenuity to confer advantage and benefit to Ghana, ultimately, how can that be a problem? And if the money was not so lodged in the PHF but it is shown that, indeed, the shares have been acquired, and the shares have been paid for, how can that be anything to undermine this country, financially?” he wondered.
The minority in Parliament accused the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government of engaging in a new clandestine ‘Agyapa deal’.
According to a statement dated September 29th, 2022, the NPP government has failed to account for $100m of oil revenue accruing from Ghana’s Petroleum lifting in the first quarter of 2022.
According to the Minority, the decision by the NPP Government to transfer revenues accruing from about 944,164bbls of crude lifting in the Jubilee and TEN fields to a company established in a haven (outside Ghana) without Parliamentary approval, amounts to a gross violation of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815) and Public Financial Management Act (Act 921).
The statement signed by John Abdulai Jinapor, Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, said that the NPP government has proven over and over again that they cannot be entrusted with the country’s oil revenues.
E-Levy To Be Reviewed As Proceeds Woefully Below Expectations – Ken Ofori-Atta
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has revealed that the electronic transaction (e) levy is set to be reviewed as the proceeds so far are woefully inadequate.
Speaking during an interview, Ofori-Atta said the levy has so far failed to raise even 10% of Ghc 600m monthly figure that the government projected it to raise.
Ergo, Ken Ofori-Atta said the government will soon review the programme and also take measures to increase the number of Ghanaians who are compliant with the tax.
He said the review is part of measures to increase domestic revenue mobilisation.
“Such exercises form part of an ongoing drive to ensure we take significant steps forward in remedying long-standing challenges with domestic revenue mobilization, indiscipline, corruption and leakages,” Ofori-Atta said.
“Of course, heightened tax compliance and increased tax audit exercises will continue to be complemented by policy initiatives that allow us to tap into a wider pool of taxpayers in the years ahead. Towards this therefore we are looking at areas around the E-Levy to ensure its efficient implementation,” he added.
Currently, Ghanaians are paying 1.5% of the value of any electronic transaction above Ghc 100 to the government, the controversial e-levy.
Recently, Ghanaians have complained that the tax is being charged even on transactions below Ghc 100.
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