There is an increase of over GHS1 billion in the 2017 education budget, Vice president Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has disclosed, saying it is an indication that government is committed to investing in the education sector.
“We have increased the education budget of over a billion cedis; so, it means that government is going to invest in the education sector to improve the standard of education in the country,” he said at the town hall event marking the new government’s 100 days in office.
The total budget for the Ministry of Education, including the GETFUND, saw an increase of 20.7% in 2017 from GHS 7.55 billion in 2016 to GHS 9.12 billion.
He stated that the budget made an allocation of GHS 400million to implement government’s Free Secondary Education programme, beginning September, and the upward review of the capitation grant by 100%.
He said government has also completed a draft bill for the National Research Fund, as well as the allocation of GHS43.9million for the establishment of a National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan that will support graduates who will go into entrepreneurship.
According to the policy think tank IMANI, all the GHS 400million is allocated to Goods and Services, with GHC 188.2 million financed by Government, and GHS 211.7 million by the Annual Budget Funding Amount.
“It is important to note that the success of the Free SHS policy is contingent on the availability of Goods, Services and Assets,” IMANI said, applauding the shift away from the situation where a chunk of budgetary allocation in the sector went into paying salaries and wages, leaving a token to fund other critical activities needed to boost the quality of state-funded educational facilities.
For instance, in the 2016 education budget, the Education Ministry expended about 74.7 percent of its allocation to pay workers’ salaries and wages.
Out of the total budgetary allocation, only 5.3 percent went into acquiring assets, and 20 percent went into goods and services.
This means that any major infrastructure development in educational facilities depended on proceeds from the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and internally generated funds.
Worryingly, most of these monies are believed to be paid to non-existing employees of the Ministry, giving rise to what policymakers often refer to as ‘Ghost names’.
Last year, it was discovered by the Bureau of National Investigations that about GHS7.9million was paid to over 22,000 non-existent service personnel at the National Service Secretariat (NSS) in more than 100 districts across the country.
To eliminate this canker, the Vice- President said that all government agencies have been asked to open an account at the Bank of Ghana, which means that monies will not be paid directly to people. – B&FT