- capitation grant up to GH¢10
- No BECE registration fee
- Income tax waived for private varsities
In a bid to attract investors into the country’s education sector and position it as a hub in the sub-region, Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta has revealed that government will give tax breaks to privately-owned universities.
“It is government’s intention to support the sector in order to position Ghana as the premier higher education hub of the sub-region, and to attract critical foreign direct investment into the sector,” he said.
Presenting the 2018 budget statement to Parliament, he said private institutions will no longer be required to pay corporate income tax.
“Income tax will be waived on privately-owned universities, to the extent that profit is ploughed back to maintain the facilities. We will work to achieve the same for privately-owned SHSs in the future.
“The education sector represents a high growth potential with multiplier effects on the economy, as confirmed by a recent ‘Country Private Sector Diagnostic’ study by the World Bank Group. This is borne out by the rapid growth in privately-owned and managed universities, as well as in the inward flow of students from the West Africa sub-region.”
Ghana currently plays host to about 10,383 foreign students, representing 3.2 percent of the total student population of 315,000 in the country’s tertiary education system.
To achieve the government vision of making the country an education hub, the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with GET FUND, is to set up a Voluntary Education Fund to enable Ghanaians make voluntary contributions to support education.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said government will further increase the capitation grant from GH¢9 – after a 100 percent increase this year – to GH¢10 in the 2018/19 academic year.
The capitation grant, which was introduced in 2005, at GH¢4.5 per child, did not see a major increase until this year—2017, when government increased the fee by 100 percent.
“In fulfilment of government’s vision to make basic education free and ensure participation by all, the capitation grant was increased by 100 percent from GH¢ 4.5 to GH¢9.
“It is well-stressed that this increase by the Akufo-Addo government was the first major increase since 2009,” he said.
The increase in capitation grant by government means that basic school authorities will have enough funds to run the schools without resorting to charging alien fees that have the potential of defeating the purpose of Free Compulsory Basic Education (FCUBE).
Recent checks made by the B&FT show, for example, that some schools charge about GH¢5 as a printing fee and GH¢30 as ceremonial dress fees per pupil.
Some schools brazenly charge various fees – which stems from the paucity of the capitation grant – as they struggle to provide learning materials for the pupils.
Free BECE registration
Government absorbed 70 percent of the 2017 BECE registration fees as subsidies for all registered candidates in both public and private JHSs.
In 2018, government will absorb 100 percent of BECE registration fees for registered candidates from public Junior High Schools, the Finance Minister revealed.