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Free SHS: Prospectus, other parental expenditures surpass government outlay – Report

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Mr. Divine Kpe, Senior Programmes Officer of Africa Education Watch, delivered the presentation at an education funding conference in Accra. The theme of the report was "The Financial Burden of the Free SHS Policy and Implications for Equitable Access to Education." The government's costs were calculated using Free SHS financial allocations and expenditures provided from the Ministries of Education, Finance, and Parliament for the academic years 2017-18 to 2022-23. The cost to parents was calculated by comparing historical prospectus item prices from the Ghana Statistical Service to the cost of prospectuses collected from schools.

According to a survey undertaken by Africa Education Watch, an educational civil society organisation, parent expenditures on prospectuses and other products outnumber government expenditures under the Free Senior High School programme.

According to Africa Education Watch, the government spends GHS 1,147 per student on boarding schools and GHS 1,107 on day students.

During the 2021-2022 academic year, parents spent GHS 2,477 on prospectuses for their kids at boarding schools and an extra GHS 4,000 on other personal products such as perfume, detergents, and sanitary pads, according to the education think tank.

Mr Divine Kpe, Senior Programmes Officer of Africa Education Watch, delivered the presentation at an education funding conference in Accra.

The theme of the report was “The Financial Burden of the Free SHS Policy and Implications for Equitable Access to Education.”

The government’s costs were calculated using Free SHS financial allocations and expenditures provided by the Ministries of Education, Finance, and Parliament for the academic years 2017-18 to 2022-23.

The cost to parents was calculated by comparing historical prospectus item prices from the Ghana Statistical Service to the cost of prospectuses collected from schools.

According to Africa Education Watch, the price of prospectuses climbed by 38 per cent, up from a percentage of 36 during the policy’s initial implementation stage.

According to Mr Kpe, parents of continuing-day students spend an average of GH4,400 per year on their children’s education, which includes transport (40 per cent), breakfast (50 per cent), and books (10 per cent).

In its analysis, the think tank also indicated that parents of day students paid GHC 5,507 inclusive of prospectus expenses, outspending the government by GHS 1,107.

According to the research, financial restrictions contributed to a 15% failure of candidates to honour their admission in the 2022-2023 academic year.

It blamed the failure to honour admission on the expensive expense of prospectuses and other educational materials.

To reduce the expense burden of prospectuses, the study proposed that the Ministry of Education create and implement a plan focusing on children from the poorest households utilising data from the LEAP programme in the medium to long term.

According to the research, this strategy would allow the government to invest more money to pay the whole cost of secondary school for kids from low-income families.

According to the research, the Ministry of Finance should enhance the allocation of money under the policy per the objectives, implementation plans, and cash flow estimates.

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We’ve not been paid GH¢1 billion; KPMG’s assertion is false – SML

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SML further stated that KPMG's inability to mention that 31.5 percent of the total GH¢1,061,054,778.00 taken as taxes provides a very uneven "impression of the relationship between the compensation, investment, and other related costs." "SML believes that KPMG's failure to include GRA taxes of 31.5% taken before payment, interest payments of 32% plus SML's investment repayment, and other taxes/duties over the period creates an unbalanced impression of the relationship between compensation and investment and other related costs. This omission is really deceptive.

Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Ltd (SML) denied receiving GH¢1,061,054,778.00 for a revenue mobilisation contract with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

President Akufo-Addo ordered KPMG to audit the contract between the GRA and SML on January 2. KPMG’s findings revealed that SML received a total of GH¢1,061,054,778.00 from 2018 to date.

However, Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Ltd responded by denying the charges, noting that KPMG reported the amount “without reference to the investments made and the taxes paid” during the review period.

“KPMG quotes a figure as compensation to SML. It is interesting to note that this figure is quoted without reference to the investments made and the taxes paid by SML over the period within the consolidated contract

“The compensation of GH¢1,061,054,778.00 stated by KPMG is inaccurate.”

SML further stated that KPMG’s inability to mention that 31.5 per cent of the total GH¢1,061,054,778.00 taken as taxes provides a very uneven “impression of the relationship between the compensation, investment, and other related costs.”

“SML believes that KPMG’s failure to include GRA taxes of 31.5% taken before payment, interest payments of 32% plus SML’s investment repayment, and other taxes/duties over the period creates an unbalanced impression of the relationship between compensation and investment and other related costs. This omission is really deceptive.

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The president needs to show leadership to stop ‘dumsor’ – Agyeman-Duah

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Professor Agyeman-Duah also chastised the administration for the slow speed at which it is addressing electricity concerns. He argues that given the frequency of power outages, the government should have taken a more serious approach to finding long-term solutions, but this has not been the case.

Professor Baffior Agyeman-Duah, a Governance Expert, has urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to show leadership by summoning all major players in the power sector, including the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRDCo), the Volta River Authority (VRA), and the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC), and giving them marching orders to resolve the power crisis.

He believes he’ll be astonished if the president hasn’t done so already.

Speaking on the Ghana Tonight broadcast on TV3 on Monday, April 22, Prof Ageyman Duah remarked, “I will be surprised that the president has not called the leadership of the VRA, GRIDCo, ECG, and PURC, to sit them down to give them the marching order that he doesn’t like what they are doing.

“That is leadership, we need the president to be giving the marching orders. As I said, if he has done it privately I don’t know but based on the public pronouncements by these state agencies in charge of the energy sector, it seems like he hasn’t done that.”

Professor Agyeman-Duah also chastised the administration for the slow speed at which it is addressing electricity concerns.

He argues that given the frequency of power outages, the government should have taken a more serious approach to finding long-term solutions, but this has not been the case.

He went on to say “The government hasn’t been too active in seeking solutions to problems”

Prof. Baffour Agyeman-Duah also urged the state power distributor, the ECG, to produce a load-shedding schedule.

This, he believes, will help power consumers arrange their lives more effectively.

“The wise thing to do is to issue a timetable,” Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah said.

Meanwhile, Richard Ahiagbah, Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has stated that power shortages in certain areas of the country are annoying.

However, he stated that there is light at the end of the tunnel for the problem.

Mr Ahiagbah ascribed the problem to the Electricity Company of Ghana’s (ECG) maintenance work.

He told us that the job would be done quickly.

“The recent power outages have been understandably frustrating. However, there is an end in sight. The maintenance works are almost complete, and we can soon expect access to an uninterrupted power supply around the clock, as we have become accustomed to under the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia Administration.”

Regarding the criticism that members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have made against the administration over the outages, he stated, “The NDC is the last political organization to point fingers because Ghana has not forgotten the hurts of the ‘real dumsor,’ suffered under H.E. Mahama.

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Gomoa Akotsi: Truck collides with a police car, killing one and injuring several others

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It struck a Chinese national's car before colliding with a police vehicle stationed on the side of the road near Akotsi Junction. An eyewitness, Nai Appiah Nortey, told Citi News that several cops were in the parked police car and two more were in the trunk. The police were said to be making purchases nearby when the tragedy happened. "The vehicle was descending from Gomoa Akramah hills towards the Akotsi junction. But it suddenly lost control, crossed the main road, and collided with a police vehicle sitting on the shoulder of the road. It pulled the police vehicle and then parked in front of a business.

A collision on the road between Gomoa Akramah and Akoti Junction in the Gomoa East District, Central Region, is said to have killed one police officer and badly wounded many others.

According to sources, a KIA Rhino truck (registration number GX 4135-24) had a braking failure and went off track.

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It struck a Chinese national’s car before colliding with a police vehicle stationed on the side of the road near Akotsi Junction.

An eyewitness, Nai Appiah Nortey, told Citi News that several cops were in the parked police car and two more were in the trunk. The police were said to be making purchases nearby when the tragedy happened.

“The vehicle was descending from Gomoa Akramah hills towards the Akotsi junction. But it suddenly lost control, crossed the main road, and collided with a police vehicle sitting on the shoulder of the road. It pulled the police vehicle and then parked in front of a business.

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“There were some police officers in the trunk of the truck, and some even fell out as soon as the collision occurred. “One person has died, and the rest, including the Chinese national, have been rushed to the Trauma and Specialist Hospital in Winneba,” Nai Appiah Nortey said.

The Central East Regional Operations commander and other senior officials came on the spot to evaluate the magnitude of the damage.

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