The Education Ministry has rebutted Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa’s claim that the Minister of Education misled parliament on the issue of disbursement of funds for the progressively free SHS policy by the erstwhile John Mahama-led administration.
On Wednesday, November 8, Mr. Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu and Deputy Education Minister (tertiary), in the Mahama administration, released a statement to challenge Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education on his stance that the erstwhile government had not disbursed any funds for its progressively free SHS policy.
According to Mr. Ablakwa, “Government released all funds being 12.78 million Ghana Cedis. This covered the period September to December 2015.”
“A second release of 17 million Ghana Cedis was effected for the second term covering January to April 2016,” he explained.
But in a statement issued by the Ministry dated November 10, the Education Ministry has indicted Mr. Ablakwa for either “deliberately or inadvertently misquoting the Minister”.
The Ministry maintains its stance that, “nothing at all was paid in respect to the 120,000 boarding students who were to benefit from the NDC government’s Progressively Free SHS programme, nor was any provision made for same”.
The payment that Ablakwa was referring to was the initial payments for day students, the letter said.
And even in respect to that, the Nana Akufo-Addo government came to meet arrears to the tune of GHS 30, 120, 552. 00 which cover the period from the first year (2015/2016) of the progressively free SHS that covered day students, it added.
That money has already been paid by the Akufo-Addo government, according to the letter.
The release added that the current government inherited a total of GHS 1, 251, 893, 573. 01 (one billion, two hundred and fifty-one million, eight hundred and ninety-three thousand five hundred and seventy-three cedis and one Peswa) as arrears.
The arrears were for payment of "Compensation of Employees, Social Intervention Programmes (SIP), Other goods and services and Capital Expenditure.
The letter further states that the government is working assiduously to clear such a hefty debt.