- A Deputy Finance Minister-designate justified government’s incessant borrowing
- Abena Osei Asare told the Appointments Committee of Parliament that borrowing is crucial to the sustainability of the free SHS
- The free SHS was launched in 2017
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Abena Osei Asare, a Deputy Finance Minister-designate, has justified government borrowing under the Akufo-Addo administration.
Appearing before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday, June 3, 2021, Osei Asare suggested that the free SHS will fold without borrowing.
“We need to continue with the Free SHS, we need to continue the road construction. We need to continue with the Ghana CARES, we need to continue with the infrastructure the people want to have. So, in this situation, what do you do? We try as much as possible to borrow amounts of money that will serve our interest,” she told the committee during her vetting.
According to the Bank of Ghana, the country’s total public debt stock hit an all-time high of GH¢291.6 billion in December 2020.
This is approximately 76.1% of GDP.
External debt alone stood at GH¢141.8 billion, approximately US$24.7 billion, the BoG figures stated.
The free SHS
A major campaign promise by the then opposition leader, President Akufo-Addo, the policy was launched in 2017 after the NPP won the 2016 elections in Ghana.
It has ensured that hundreds of thousands of students are in secondary school. A little over 400,000 students were said to have benefited from the policy in its first year of implementation.
Free SHS Akufo-Addo’s greatest first-term achievement
Speaking in a YEN.com.gh monitored interview ahead of the 2020 general elections, the vice president said despite strong opposition to the policy by the NDC, placing over 40 adverts against it, Akufo-Addo remained resolute in his conviction.
“Notwithstanding all of these, to have that vision that it was doable, some people thought it could only be done in 20 years, where would we get the money to do it? All of these questions. But, Nana Akufo-Addo had a clear vision. He knew where he wanted to take this country and the free SHS is part of the transformation agenda which he had been able to achieve.
“I think it’s a remarkable achievement. It’s a legacy for this country and…I’m very proud of it. So, yes. Free SHS will be my number top achievement for this government in the first term,” the vice president added.
Meanwhile, former President John Dramani Mahama said the policy was started by him.
According to him, his administration started the policy in 2015.