National Democratic Congress(NDC),Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Hon. Ernest Henry Norgbey, has challenged the governt to emulate the erstwhile John Mahama administration and cut 10% of the pay of the 110 ministers and their deputies to fund the struggling free senior high school programme.
According to him, such a move would undoubtedly accrue some funds to ensure the sustainability of the programme, which has been beset with despicable challenges across the country.
The implementation of the campaign promise policy, which is now targeted at only first year students entering senior high schools at no cost, has been inundated with inadequate fundsand accommodation (dormitories), lack of furniture, books and other infrastructural facilities, like dining halls.
However, in an interview with The Republic last Friday, Hon Norgbey said, if the current government appointees were mindful and patriotic enough to take out 10% salary cut by the 110 ministers that will make available an annual amount of over Ghc2million.
Mr. Norgbey noted that similar decision was taken by the John Mahama-led NDC government appointees which helped in putting up Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds across the country.
Then former President, John Mahama, and his vice, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, as well as all Ministers of State did voluntary 10 percent pay cut from January 2014. The move was among the many austerity measures then being introduced to help save the country’s ailing economy.
As at the end of 2016, GHc2,190,718.30 had been deducted from the salaries of appointees under the Mahama administration and paid to contractors.
The Ashaiman MP thus challenged the current ministers to emulate same to fund the free SHS, which is flooded with so many challenges.
“Some ministers under Mahama government were able to set aside 10% of their salaries to champion some developmental projects in the country; CHPS compounds and other things in the communities.”
“How many were they? They were about 80 something. Now an elephant government; we have about 110 ministers. Assuming without admitting that these 110 ministers take Ghc16,000 every month. If you multiply 16,000 by 110 you are heading to about 1.76 million Ghana Cedis.”
“If you calculate 10% of this, you are talking of 160,000 cedis every month. In 12months which is a year, you will realize about 2.112 million cedis. It will do a lot of things for the Free SHS.”
“So what I am suggesting to the President is to tell his 110 ministers to set aside 10% of their salary so that they contribute towards this Free SHS because our brothers and sisters, our children in the various schools are suffering,” Mr. Norgbey stated.
The young vociferous MP’s suggestion comes at the time the government is seeking a definite source of funding for the flagship Free Senior High School Education Programme.
For that, he said, if the Akufo-Addo-led government and his appointees listen to him and also emulate the Mahama appointees, the teething problems on the free SHS could be minimized.
While speaking in parliament during the approval of the 2018 budget, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta indicated that the Voluntary Fund to be set up by government would yield more resources to fund the free SHS.
According to him, there are well-meaning Ghanaians, both within and outside the country, who genuinely expressed their readiness to make contribution to the success of the programme.
But Mr. Norgbey said, he doubts if government would get the expected funds on such voluntary fund policy to support the problem they (government) voluntarily caused with such huge promise without resources for funding it.
He noted that, people like contractors who could contribute voluntarily are not being paid and wondered how many philanthropists under the current economic hardship could willingly donate money for a campaign promise.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Felix Engsalige Nyaaba