In the 2020 Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy (July 23rd 2020) page 2, paragraph 9, government reported that a total of GHC 3.2 billion (3,200,000,000) was spent on fSHS since its inception (2017-2020).
On page 241 of the 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy (12th March 2021) government allocated (1.9 billion) 1,974,021,968 to the fSHS programme, which is listed as item 4 in Appendix 6.
Based on items 1 and 2 above, the total expenses on fSHS by the end of 2021 should be 5,174,021,968 (2017-2021).
However in the 2021 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy (29th July 2021) page 49, paragraph 284, it is contained that since the inception of the fSHS government has invested 7.62 billion (7,620,000,000) to implement the fSHS programme.
Based on items 4 and 5 above, government has expended an additional 2.4 billion (2,445,978,032) on the fSHS programme, which was not budgeted for in the 2021 budget. So far all efforts to get government to account for this extra 2.4 billion has failed. This is after the Minister for Finance failed to tell Parliament exactly what accounted for the additional expense on Wednesday July 21st 2021 (Official report columns 044 to 045). He promised to get full details for me, I’m still waiting.
Note that the same 2021 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review on page 101, Appendix 4E stated that GHC598 million was allocated and released as COVID-19 expenditure to prepare schools for mass reopening.
As well, the Committee on Health indicates that government spent GHC96 million on PPEs for the Ministry of Education when the Ministry of Health attended upon the Committee on Health to defend its Budget request for 2022.
From the above, it’s clear that: a) 598 million (see item 6), and 98 million (see item 7) went to Covid-19 expenditure for schools.
Consequently, the additional 2.4 billion expenditure between 2020 and 2021 assigned to fSHS, increased the expenditure for fSHS since its inception, 2017, to date, 2021 from GH 5,274,021,968 (5.3 billion) to 7,620,000,000 (7.62 billion).
Government must account for the GH2.4 billion additional fSHS expenditure. The Nana Akufo-Addo/Bawumia NPP government cannot ask Ghanaians to pay new taxes when it cannot account for 2.4 billion additional expenses on fSHS.
What was the additional money used for? Was the allocated 1.9 billion for the period not enough? Why was an additional 2.4 billion expended within the same period, one year? Government must account for these monies.
This is yet another reason why we on the NDC side in Parliament stand with the good people of Ghana to NO to E-levy. We will vote against E-levy. NO to Momo tax.
The author is Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Deputy Ranking Member on Parliament’s select Committee on Education