The International Monetary Fund has no intention of compelling the Government of Ghana to cancel the Free Senior High School policy which has been criticised for being a massive burden on the country’s purse.
“It is important to say that Free SHS is a revolutionary policy, so why cancel it?” said the IMF’s Resident Representative to Ghana, Dr Albert Touna-Mama on the Citi Breakfast Show.
Dr. Touna-Mama, however, noted concerns about the effectiveness of one of the flagship policies of the Akufo-Addo government.
“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.
Dr. Touna-Mama suggested further that some compromises with the policy that made secondary education completely free will be expected.
“It is good to go with an open mind about these things, so we are just getting started,” he noted.
Dr. Touna-Mama said his outfit will be looking out for leakages and evaluating the impact of various expenditures.
Another priority of the IMF is to protect spending on social intervention programmes.
Dr. Touna-Mama described this as non-negotiable and said the IMF has been consulting with UNICEF and other development partners.
“We need to carve a space for programmes like LEAP and for programmes that are effective in protecting the most vulnerable,” the IMF representative said.
The IMF recently concluded a fact-finding mission to Ghana in which it met with key stakeholders like the Vice President, Finance Minister and the Bank of Ghana.
The discussions focused on improving fiscal balances sustainably while protecting the vulnerable and poor; ensuring credibility of the monetary policy and exchange rate regimes; preserving financial sector stability, and designing reforms to enhance growth, create jobs, and strengthen governance.