Parliament has called on the Ministry of Finance to under no circumstance revise downwards monies approved by the House for implementation of projects and programmes of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).
The House also urged the Ministry to put measures in place to make timely payment of accruals to the Fund.
According to the House, this is to ensure the Fund lives up to expectation in the critical role it plays in the development of education in the country.
The advice was contained in the report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed formula for the distribution of the GETFund for the 2018 fiscal year.
The report indicated that the Getfund allocation for 2017 approved by the House was revised downwards by the Ministry of Finance after the Mid-year Budget Review, a development that adversely affected the implementation of planned projects and programmes of the Fund.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu who presented the report noted that as at the end of year 2017, an amount of GHS¢540,040,070.36 out of the revised figure of GH¢644,265,000.00 had been released to the GETFund leaving an outstanding amount of GH¢95,224,929.64.
Such delays in the payment of accruals, he said, disrupt the Fund’s schedule for the implementation of planned projects and payments to contractors among others and urged the Ministry to release the outstanding amount as a matter of urgency to enable GETFund fully meet its obligations for the year 2017.
The report indicated that an amount of GH¢924,804,543.00 is expected to accrue into the GETFund for the 2018 fiscal year to be distributed to the education sub-sector of tertiary, secondary, basic, Ministry of Education, and MPs.
The Chairman indicated that per the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government for the 2018 Financial Year, an amount of GH¢447,511,600.00 out of the GH¢924,804,543.00 has been earmarked for teacher trainee allowance and other education requirements.
“This leaves the GETFund with an amount of GH¢447,292,943.00 for its projects and programmes.”
“The Committee is of the view that the remaining amount for the projects and programmes of the GETFund is woefully inadequate to enable the Fund implement its planned projects and programmes,” he said.
He noted that in order not to defeat the purpose for which the GETFund was set up, the Committee recommended the Ministry of Finance to strictly adhere to provisions of the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, 2017 and not to further budget into the funds beyond Act 947.
The Committee, he said, observed that over the years funds are not allocated for investment under the distribution formula, which the Education Minister explained is a result of inadequate money accruing to the Fund.
The chairman averred that although the Committee appreciates the challenges confronting the Fund, it nevertheless want the managers of the GETFund to adhere strictly to the provisions of Section 8(2) of Act 581 by allocating funds for investment activities no matter how meager the amount.
The House subsequently approved the 2018 GETFund Distribution Formula for the amount of GH¢924,804,543.00 to enable the GET Fund Secretariat distribute same to the designated areas of the Education Sector.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org