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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Free SHS is a revolutionary policy – IMF resident rep

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Free SHS – Govt of Ghana as source

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has described the Akufo-Addo government’s major flagship programme, Free SHS as a revolutionary one.

As such, the fund said it will not recommend the cancellation of a policy which is benefiting the most vulnerable in society.

This is according to the IMF’s Resident Representative to Ghana, Dr Albert Touna-Mama.

He revealed this in an interview with Accra-based radio station, Citi FM on Thursday, July 14.

“It is important to say that Free SHS is a revolutionary policy, so why cancel it?” he queried.

Dr. Touna-Mama, however, admitted that the policy is not being implemented efficiently now.

As a result, he said the fund will rather consider measures that will ensure effective implementation of the programme.

“It doesn’t mean that it is perfectly sustainable and efficient now, so that is a different conversation.

“The debate is more on how we make it sustainable and how we make sure we achieve efficiency,” he explained.

Many Ghanaians have in recent times criticised the policy for being a massive expenditure burden on the country’s purse.

These critics have thus called for a review to allow for parents who can afford to pay for their wards to do so.

However, the government has insisted that the policy will not be tampered with.

Meanwhile, the Bretton Woods institution has already revealed the country’s stock has been worsened by the combined effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

According to the global lender, this has subsequently affected the country’s economy; leading to high inflation and a drop in the value of the Ghana Cedi.

The global lender made these assertions in a statement which was published on its official website on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, following its visit to Ghana.

“Ghana is facing a challenging economic and social situation amid an increasingly difficult global environment. The fiscal and debt situation has severely worsened following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the IMF has expressed its desire to help Ghana weather its current economic predicament.

The visiting team of IMF, led by Carlo Sdralevich, visited Accra between July 6-13, 2022, to have first-hand information on the situation on the grounds and discuss how it could assist government’s Enhanced Domestic Program.

In this regard, the team interacted with the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and the governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison.

The Fund also engaged the Finance Committee of Parliament, civil society organisations and other stakeholders such as UNICEF and the World Bank.

At the close of its one-week interaction, the team expressed its gratitude to all the relevant stakeholders for their collaboration.

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