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Free SHS: Minority Threatens Legal Action Over ‘Excessive’ Use of Oil Funds

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The Minority has threatened to take the NPP government to court for excessively using the oil funds to support its flagship Free Senior High School Programme.

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson mentioned that records of expenditure of oil revenue show that the distribution formula set out in the Petroleum Revenue Management Act has been sidestepped to fund the Free SHS.

The Minority further alleged that government was diverting monies from Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF) for the Free Senior High School program.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

After the debate in Parliament on the annual report on petroleum funds, Ato Forson told Citi News that the NPP government has deliberately breached the law and should face the consequences.

“They are breaching the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund Act. Clearly because the petroleum management Revenue Act stipulates that 70% of the petroleum fund should go the annual budget Funding amount and 70% of that amount should be dedicated toward Infrastructure development and the remaining 30% should be used in the certain priority areas for goods and services. That is what is in the law,” he said.

He also stated that government is spending most of the money on consumption rather than infrastructure.

According to the Minority, their argument is based on evidence from the annual report of the petroleum fund for 2017 signed by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta.

“The report signed by Ken Ofori Atta, the annual report of the petroleum fund for 2017 physical year submitted to parliament. I will point you to page 26, and this is online on the Ministry of Finance website, it states here that an amount of 200 million has been spent on physical infrastructure. That is a lie, a complete lie,” he said.

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in May said the use of some of the country’s oil revenues to fund the Free Senior High School policy, thereby guaranteeing all Ghanaian children access to senior high school education, is most appropriate.

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Friday, 11th May 2018, when he delivered the keynote address at the 2018 Oxford Africa Conference, at the University of Oxford.

But Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper urged the government to put in place proper measures to finance the Free Senior High School (SHS) project.

According to him, the high cost of the project is already throwing government’s budget out of gear.

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