Government giving fluctuating figures on amount spent on Free SHS – Kofi Asare

The Executive Director of Eduwatch Africa, Kofi Asare, says government is not being truthful to Ghanaians on the true cost of the Free SHS policy.

He insists government has been giving contradictory figures on the cost of the policy since its commencement in 2017.

According to him, the figures are revised downwards.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Tuesday, Mr Asare said there are integrity issues the government has to address.

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He said the amount given as the total expenditure on the policy last year is not in tandem with that of this year.

“The government’s own account of how much it has spent on the Free SHS policy since 2017 keeps changing and evolving. It keeps changing not by increasing but fluctuating. Last year around the same time, the Finance Minister addressed them on the mid-year and he submitted that ¢7.62 billion had been shifted so far unto the policy since 2017.”

“Now a year after, when we have actually added to the numbers, yesterday the same minister comes to the house and indicate that the total amount government has spent on the Free SHS is now ¢5.3 billion which is over ¢2 billion less than what was reported last year.

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“So we ask the question that is the case that as the years go by and more and more people are enrolled onto the policy, the cumulative cost to government reduces, which is not possible. So it means there is some data integrity issue somewhere,” he said.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta during the mid-year budget review said ¢5.3 billion has been invested into the policy so far.

According to him, this investment has benefited 1,261,495 Ghanaian children.

On the back of this, he stated that the government’s major flagship programme, Free SHS will not be reviewed.

“It has been at the core of our national transformation efforts since 2017. We have invested ¢5.3 billion to enable 1,261,495 Ghanaian children to access secondary education under the Free SHS programme at the end of 2021 to improve access to education.”

“Out of the 571,892 registered JHS candidates, 555,353, representing 97.1 percent, were placed into SHS this year.”

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