Parliament to summon Education Minister over GETFund allocations

The Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, is likely to appear before Parliament this week to explain why the 2018 GETFund allocation formula failed to provide a breakdown for each institution.

“The Minister of Education is responsible for GETFund, so he may be the one we will have to call to come and explain to us how the bulk amount is going to be disbursed among the beneficiary institutions which fall under the Education sector.

“I will consider this with my leadership and ask for these details to be provided, because it will be difficult for us to come back and say that something has not been done well – when we did know immediately from the onset what was to be done with it and we did not raise the issues,” Benjamin Kpodo, a member of the ‘Committee of the Whole’ of Parliament that approved the GETFund Formula, told the B&FT in an interview.

Parliament last Thursday approved a total GH¢924m GETFund allocation for the 2018 fiscal year, with the largest tranche of GH¢328million (35 percent) earmarked for projects and programmes at tertiary institutions.

However, by the report, there is no formula detailing how much each institution – tertiary, secondary and basic – should be allocated.

This leaves room for these institutions to submit proposals, in the hope that they will be considered by the GETFund administrator and Education Ministry. This, the Committee noted, does not augur well for planning purposes.

According to Benjamin Kpodo, an educationist and a Member of Parliament for Ho-Central: “These approaches to allocating funds are a clear departure ffrom what we have been doing over the years. In the 2017 formula, you will see that all the tertiary institutions have been listed and whatever allocations made to them have been indicated; so it enables institutions like the universities to budget – especially to do their capital budget – knowing how much has been allocated to them.

“But in this particular year’s allocation or formula, we have just seen tertiary education given a certain percentage [35.48 percent] and an amount of GH¢328million.

“So, the institutions which come under the tertiary sector do not know how much money has been given to each of them. This leaves room for a lot of maneuvering. If, for instance, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana is able to negotiate or maneuver his way through very well, he may get something more than what the others get.”

This, he also reckons, leaves the others not knowing how much has been given to a particular institution so one can do a comparison.

“There is no information here for Parliament; we do not know how much each institution has been allocated and what reasons have been adduced. So it will be left with the institutions to see how they can lobby within circles of the Ministry of Education and GETFund’s administrator’s office – which is not good.”

In spite of approval for the formula by Parliament, Mr. Kpodo maintained that the House can still go forward and ask the administrator specific details about the allocation.

“Secondary education has GH¢256m – which institutions stand to benefit; does it also includes funds for construction of community day schools, Northern scholarships?” Mr. Kpodo enquired.

He also indicated that, given the current circumstance, the heads of these institutions cannot be held to task or questioned as to how they spend the bulk amount, since they do not know how much has been allocated to them.