Government To Amend Petroleum Act To Cater For Free SHS- Senior Minister

| Updated Apr 02, 2017 at 6:00am


Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo.


The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, has indicated that government would take steps to amend the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) to allow it tap into the Ghana Heritage Fund for financing its free Senior High School policy.

President Akufo-Addo had announced that this year, students who will be admitted into the Senior High Schools across the country would pay no fees, including boarding fees.

However, issues arose over the sustainability of the policy, following claims by the government that the economy is handicapped.

Speaking at a Graphic Business/ Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting held in Accra, Mr. Osafo Maafo said government would tackle the finance of the programme through the country’s Heritage Fund.

“We are going to look at the Heritage Fund and heritage is about the future of our country. We want to introduce free education in the second cycle institutions and it is likely to be funded through the Petroleum Act.

That being the case we are going to make amendment and say that ‘x’ percent will be used to support second cycle education. So whatever it is important to support the youth in the future, we will make certain relevant amendment to make sure that the economy benefits from the Petroleum Act,” Mr. Osafo Maafo said.

The latest semi-annual report on the Ghana Petroleum Funds from the Bank of Ghana shows that the Heritage Fund currently has a balance of US$276,962,291, showing a -2.99 percent interest decline compared to what was recorded in first half of 2016.

About 1.6 million eligible students between the ages of 15-17 years across the country, are expected to benefit from government’s free Senior High School policy.

The Free SHS policy is estimated to cost GH¢3.6 billion annually.

The country currently has in place the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) that covers primary and junior high education. However, it is estimated that close to 50 percent of JHS graduates who pass, do not have access into SHS largely due to lack of funds and accessibility.

Currently, there are about 432,780 SHS students in the country per the 2015/16 academic year data, and government spends GH¢2,312 on each student per year.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has maintained his stance on his campaign promise of redefining basic education to incorporate kindergarten to SHS and absorbing the cost of same.

"I want every Ghanaian child to attend secondary school, not just for what they study in books but for the life experiences that they will gain. I want each of them to look in the mirror in the morning every morning and know that they can achieve anything they dream of when they complete their studies,” he said in earlier times.