Gov’t must be ready for cuts in Free SHS, school feeding – Assibey-Yeboah

A former Chair of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Mark Assibey-Yeboah, has urged the Akufo-Addo administration to prepare to make hard cuts to major policies to get the economy back on track.

Speaking on Citi TV‘s Face to Face, he cited the Free Senior High School policy, the School Feeding Programme and the Nation Builders Corps (NABCo) as areas the government could make savings on.

His remarks come on the back of scheduled engagements with the International Monetary Fund for a support package for Ghana’s distressed economy.

The government has indicated that some of its policies could be on the table for review.

Mr. Assibey-Yeboah suggested the Free SHS could be more targeted, as an example.

“Why should we be paying for boarding facilities and the rest. So we can shape the free SHS somewhat,” he noted.

The former MP was also critical of how NABCo trainees have been handled.

“We pretend to be paying them, they also pretend to be working… I have advised that pay them three months severance,” he said.

On the school feeding programme, Dr. Assibey-Yeboah recommended that it should be scrapped amid calls for the allocation to the caterers to be increased from 97 pesewas per child to GH¢3.

“You see it as 97 pesewas, but it costs the government GH¢900 million a year,” the former MP said.

“If we are not ready to take the hard decisions, then forget about going to the IMF and stabilising the economy. You can’t do it.”

The government announced last Friday that it would hold formal talks with the IMF.

The move came after the Akufo-Addo government’s controversial revenue generation policy, the electronic transfer levy, failed to generate the needed revenue targets.

Ghana’s economy is in dire straits as it currently has a total public debt stock of GH¢391.9 billion, as of the end of the first quarter of 2022.

The cedi is also the worst-performing African currency, having weakened 22 percent against the dollar this year.

This would be the 17th time the government is turning to the IMF for support.

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