SHS Education Steve Manteaw threatens to take on gov't over Heritage Fund for Free SHS

Chairman of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, Dr Steve Manteaw has told Pulse.com.gh that using the Fund to finance the free SHS policy will destroy the purpose for which the Fund was set up.

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Dr Steve Manteaw play

Dr Steve Manteaw

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The Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas has kicked against moves by the government to use the Heritage Fund to finance the Free Senior High School policy.

Ghana's Senior Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo Marfo on Tuesday said: “We are going to look at the Heritage Fund. The Heritage [Fund] implies for the future. We want to introduce…and the president mentioned it last week [Free Senior High School] and it is likely to be funded through the Petroleum Act [Heritage Fund].”

play Yaw Osafo Marfo

 

He said the government will amend the Act to allocate some portions of the fund to the implementation of the policy.

READ ALSO: Ghana will fund its free high school policy with the Heritage Fund

His comments come on the back of concerns that the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy will not be sustainable especially with the financial situation of the country.

Many have, however, raised issues with the government’s plan to use the Heritage Fund to finance the policy.

The Heritage Fund is set up to support the development of future generations when Ghana’s petroleum reserves have been depleted. The Fund receives nine percent of the country’s annual petroleum revenue.

Chairman of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, Dr Steve Manteaw has told Pulse.com.gh that using the Fund to finance the free SHS policy will destroy the purpose for which the Fund was set up.

He said: “This particular arrangement moves Ghana away from the very bad practice of treating Natural resource revenues as income for consumption,” adding that the threat by the government to use accumulated money in the Heritage Fund to finance free SHS “amounts to using the revenue to finance recurrent expenditure, which is what we have done in the mining sector and partly have the reason why after 100 years of mining, this country has nothing to show.”

READ ALSO:

Gov’t to spend GHc3.6billion yearly on Free SHS 

Dr Manteaw added that “This is not to say that we are opposed to using petroleum revenue to finance education. If that is the pleasure of government and of Ghanaians, we have 91% of the revenue available for spending by the current generation.”

He advised that the government should rather “look into the direction of the ABFA [Annual Budget Funding Amount] and leave the Heritage Fund alone because it is the only thing we may have to show for the oil resources that this country has been endowed with.”

“If the current government wants to channel all the 70% [of the ABFA] to finance free SHS and Ghanaians are happy with it, we have no problem because the law allows us to do that. We are opposed to a situation where any government comes to power and makes changes to existing laws to suit it.”

He said if the government fails to reconsider their decision on the Fund, “We will mobilise people against it and we will fight into the next election.”

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