Mr Peter Kwasi Nortsu-Kotoe, the Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, has urged the House to ensure that the budgetary allocation to the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) is protected.
This, the Ranking Member said would enable the Fund deliver on its mandate.
Contributing to the debate on the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government on the floor of Parliament, Mr Nortsu-Kotoe said almost everything about education in this country was being funded by GETFund.
“You look at Teacher Trainees’ Allowances, it is GETFund; provision of vehicles, it is GETFund; provision of furniture, it is GETFund; construction of classroom blocks, it is GETFund. Everything about education, it is GERTFund.”
To ensure the sustainability of the GETFund, the Ranking Member urged the Government not to overly burden the Fund.
“Why are we putting so much pressure on them (GETFund)? So, if care is not taken, we are going to make sure GETFund is overburdened and then in the near future, everything will be over with GETFund.”
Mr Nortsu-Kotoe bemoaned the current spate of strikes, which had bedeviled the education sector from the basic level to the tertiary level, and appealed to the Government to do something about it.
He cautioned that if care was not taken the ongoing strike by the University Teachers’ Association (UTAG), the academic calendar would be drilled.
“Education is very, very important and the needed attention must be paid to education in this country,” Mr Nortsu-Kotoe stated.
“Mr Speaker, we all know very well, that the foundation for education in this country is at the basic level, but what do we see? We see a declining resource allocation to basic education in this country.”
He said in 2014 they had almost 23 per cent of the budget for education allocated for basic level, but by this year, it had gone to less than 15 per cent.
“Mr Speaker, if we don’t pay attention to basic education in this country, and think that secondary education is more important, we are not doing anything good to education in this country,” he said.
He noted that many basic schools were lacking infrastructure and that over 5,000 basic schools in the country were operating under trees.
He said the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government, reported that 40 basic infrastructure projects were completed and taken over in 2022, which according to him was inadequate.
He appealed to the Government to allocate more resources to education, especially to basic education.
“Mr Speaker, if you also look at the budget, we are told that at the secondary school level, they completed only 21 projects for 2022. Why? So, many projects that are ongoing, this is because GETFund is not getting money to pay for the buildings that have been constructed for senior high schools. So, the contractors have abandoned their projects,” Mr Nortsu-Kotoe said.
He reiterated that the major source of funding for education in the country was resources made available to GETFund.
He said in the budget estimate, the 2.5 per cent value added tax (VAT), would realize for the Government GHC3.6 billion but only GHC1.8 billion would be given to GETFund, which was 50 per cent.
He said out of this 50 per cent that would be given to GETFund, and that there was an instruction to cut their resources by 30 per cent, and then a further recapping was being done; so, in effect, GETFund would not get GHC1.8 billion that was expected to be given to them.
“So, right now they are depending on the “Daakye Bond” and that is making them even live and then pay some contractors. So, if the 50 per cent that is allocated to them, is not even given to them, because the allocation for 2022, not even 20 per cent to 30 per cent has been given to them. So, they are waiting for money and that is why contractors are not being paid.”
He alleged that GETFund was not getting the money needed to do its business.