Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has stated that the Akufo-Addo led government will not use the Heritage Fund to bankroll the free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
“We are financing the Free SHS education without looking at the Heritage Fund. We are not touching the Heritage Fund,” Mr. Ofori Atta told journalists Thursday after the Achimota Speak Forum in Accra.
He added: “I think we have enough resources from our envelope to be able to do it without touching the Heritage Fund…We will not touch the Heritage Fund…there is going to a budget allocation for that and it does not include the Heritage Fund.”
The comments of the Finance Minister contradict claims by the Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo that the government may rely on the Heritage Fund to bankroll the Free SHS policy.
Mr Osafo Marfo stated at a forum in Accra on Tuesday that: “We have to make an amendment to say that X per cent of the Heritage Fund, or the Petroleum Fund will be used to support second cycle education.
“If we think that industry requires a certain stimulus that will enable jobs to be created and you are creating a job to build Ghana, you can look at it and put in a certain amount. We are [also] looking at agriculture.”
The government’s plan to fund the free SHS policy from the Heritage Fund was met with stern repudiation from various Civil Society Organisations including Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Integrated Social Development Center (ISODEC) and IMANI.
The Heritage Fund is a strategic endowment reserve established to “support the development for future generations when Ghana’s petroleum reserves have been depleted”, according to the Petroleum Revenue Management Act of 2011.
The fund receives nine per cent of the country’s annual petroleum revenue. The Petroleum Act also provides that 21 per cent of annual oil revenues should go into a Stabilisation Fund- to support the economy in dire times – while 70 per cent should be used to support the budget.