The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has served a stern notice to the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to desist from tapping into reserved oil revenue known as Heritage fund to sponsor its free senior high school programme.
The Centre said that although it supports the use of oil revenue in sponsoring NPP’s flagship programme, it would not sanction the use of the Fund.
“The principle of intergenerational equity which informed the establishment of the fund ensure that ownership of the resources is shared among the living and the yet unborn,” ACEP said in a statement released Wednesday.
Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo in an interview with Joy News said government would use the Heritage fund to sponsor the free SHS policy of the government.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had announced last week Saturday that the programme would start coming September, assuring every aspect of education would be provided for free to students.
Although the President’s announcement had triggered some reaction from Ghanaians some of whom believe the programme would suffer because of funds, it was Mr Osafo Maafo’s claim about the use of the Heritage which has drawn sharp criticism from some Members of Parliament and civil society organizations.
Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu told Dzifa Bampoh, host of Joy FM’s Newsnite programme that the future of the unborn generation would be jeopardised should government go ahead with its decision.
He said the programme which was a promised made by President Akufo-Addo when he was the NPP Presidential Candidate in 2008 is not laudable at the moment.
Although ACEP supports the policy, it want government to reconsider its decision by understanding the relevance of the Heritage Fund.
Read full statement below:
GOVERNMENT SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM THE HERITAGE FUND
Press Release, Accra- 15th February 2017
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has noted the desire of Government to use oil revenues to finance campaign promise of free Senior High School (SHS) education. ACEP has been campaigning for the use oil revenue to finance the pro-poor sectors of education and agriculture for four years. Therefore, we cannot, in principle, be against the use of oil revenue to finance education. However, we want to alert government that the petroleum revenues are governed by the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, Act 815, which was passed after deep consultation with citizens. In spite of many implementation challenges, the PRMA has been a model for many countries and Ghana can only do better at improving on transparency and accountability around the use of the oil revenues. Much as we support the use of oil revenue for financing education, we want government to recognize the significance of the heritage fund and not touch it.
ACEP therefore states its position on the use of oil revenue to finance the free SHS as follows;
ACEP will want to recommend that;
Deputy Executive Director