The Free SHS policy in Ghana has come under fire for being a huge financial burden on the nation, but the International Monetary Fund has no intention of forcing the government to cancel it.
“It is important to say that Free SHS is a revolutionary policy, so why cancel it?” Dr. Albert Touna-Mama, the IMF’s resident representative in Ghana, made this statement on the Citi Breakfast Show.
However, Dr. Touna-Mama raised questions about the effectiveness of one of the Akufo-Addo administration’s flagship policies.
“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.
Touna-Mama went on to say that certain concessions to the law that made secondary education free overall will likely be made.
“It is good to go with an open mind about these things,” he said, “so we are just getting started.”
Touna-Mama stated that his team will monitor for leakages and evaluate the influences of various expenditures.
Protecting spending on social intervention programmes is also one of the IMF’s priorities.
This is non-negotiable, according to Dr. Touna-Mama, and the IMF has spoken with UNICEF and other development partners.
The IMF representative added, “We need to carve a space for programmes like LEAP and for programmes that are effective in protecting the most vulnerable.”
The Vice President, the Finance Minister, and the Bank of Ghana were among the important stakeholders the IMF met with during its recent fact-finding mission to Ghana.
The talks centered on sustaining fiscal balances while safeguarding the vulnerable and poor; upholding the credibility of monetary policy and exchange rate regimes; maintaining financial sector stability; and proposing reforms to boost development, generate employment, and strengthen governance.