Hon Bernard Ahiafor
Hon Bernard Ahiafor, Member of Parliament for Akatsi South, has accused government of neglecting the education sector, especially the Teacher Trainee, in the 2019 Budget, by not prioritising the sector.
The MP was contributing to the debate on the 2019 budget statement delivered to parliament by the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.
The Minister of Finance, who presented the Budget Statement to Parliament, in Accra, on Thursday November 15, claimed that the Government had paid Teacher Trainee allowance as at September 2018.
But Mr Ahiafor said, the claims that teachers trainee allowance have been paid to date was not true and that information available from the Colleges of Education indicated that, the trainee received allowance up to only June, this year.
He further castigated the government to the fact that children whose parents do not have a Tax Identification Number (TIN) would not benefit from Free SHS.
The Akatsi South MP said, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, during his presentation of the 2019 budget said “the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 lists many services and transactions that cannot be accessed by individuals without TIN. Unfortunately, compliance with these requirements has been low.”
“In 2019, we will begin to apply sanctions to state and private entities that fail to enforce these TIN requirements. Additionally, government, in providing social services and benefits provided by the state, will require beneficiaries or their guardians to have a TIN. These will complement the current efforts by the GRA to get more persons and businesses on their radar” he quoted the Minister.
The Minority MP, however questioned government’s commitment to ensuring access to education with the decision to exempt children whose parents did not have the TIN.
Mr Ahiafor told THE REPUBLIC, the budget allocation was disappointing, as his analysis on education indicated the government has been prioritizing only payment of compensation, such as salaries and benefits, over disbursements to goods and services, which are used for the implementation of sector initiatives.
He pointed that, in 2016 and 2017, payment of government salaries went over budget by 32.2 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively. Goods and services in the education sector suffered significant setbacks in those same years, receiving only 0.8 percent and 14.8 percent of allocated budget.
For 2019, the MP argued that, government has budgeted just a 25 percent increase in funding to goods and services for education.
In his view, after the amounts for SHS and compensation are allocated,”I feel the increase will be insufficient to deliver quality education at other levels of education.”
He also expressed the concern that, the 2019 budget statement is silent on how to improve the education infrastructure in the country and increase the chance of qualified students into teachers and nursing training schools.
Mr Ahiafor said, the poor budget allocation to the education sector is falling extremely short of the Dakar Declaration that Ghana is a signatory to which requires that governments allocate at least 20 percent of the annual budget towards education.
He said despite the free senior high school policy, Ghana’s education sector has been deteriorating together with the economy, as many have been failing to access education under the current administration.
The Akatsi South lawmaker expressed concern that the 2019 budget delivered only short-term and failed to address the underlying determinants of key issues, especially human resources which posed serious threats to the country sector sector.
He said the present state of education in the country and poor allocation of funds for the sector in the budget needs the attention of higher authorities.
More than 70 percent schools in Ghana are still without electricity while 46 percent schools do not have proper toilet facilities and more than 55% schools are without protective boundaries, a report reveals.
This, Mr Ahiafor urged the Ministry of Education to design clear plans to solve these problems in the education sector rather than just waste money.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba