Kwame Pianim, an Economist, has advised Government not to “touch” the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy in the quest to review flagship programmes.
He called for the cutting down on expenditure on less priority areas, with funds channeled to pertinent sectors of the economy.
“This small country with more Ministers than the UK and US doesn’t make sense and every Minister has about two cars. It doesn’t make sense in a country of 30 million with 16 regions. Let’s cut down on expenditure, review our ex-gratia and give it out only once. We must also cut down on the number of Ministers,” he said.
Kwame Pianim said this in a television discussion on the topic, “IMF Deal: The Case For Review Of Flagship Programmes”.
Government recently told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it would review all flagship programmes as part of the $3 billion IMF bailout agreement.
Mr Pianim described education as a great transformer of life thus everyone should be allowed to benefit from the Free SHS Programme.
“Let’s make sure that the children are properly educated, the quality of the education is good, teachers are well paid… Let’s spend the money there and there won’t be any money left to build a cathedral, to buy V-8 for people, for Ministers to board first class when they can go economy,” he said.
He said Government’s return to the IMF was an opportunity for the country to learn from its past mistakes.
“We’ve been going to the IMF several times since independence. This is the time Ghanaians must sit down and pay attention to what they’ve been doing wrong that won’t end us at the IMF again.”
Dr John Ampontuah Kumah, Deputy Minister for Finance, said Government must look at ways to reduce the waste in public expenditures to sustain the economy.
“We must deal with the ghost names and the things that drag and are repetitive; the inefficiencies that create waste is where we must all focus so that we bring down the burden,” he said.
He debunked the assertion that the Free SHS implementation had affected the quality of education at that level, adding that, in the last West African Examinations Council (WAEC) West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) Report, Ghana topped West Africa in terms of quality in performance.
Dr Clement Abas Apaak, Deputy Ranking Member, Education Committee of Parliament, said the calls from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for a review of the Free SHS policy had nothing to do with the quantum of resources being invested into the programme, but implementation challenges.
“The Free SHS policy is a good policy but we believe that it still continues to be bedevilled with implementation challenges and that is the reason for the call for the review,” he said.
He said there had been concerns by some lecturers over the poor quality of students coming from SHS to tertiary institutions, with some calling for entrance examination.