CSOs demand answers on GH¢9m GETFund arrears


A group of over 50 civil society organisations (CSOs) in education, including Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch) and Institute for Education Studies (IFEST), are demanding the release of some GH¢9million Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) budgetary arrears, which they said remains unaccounted for.

The amount, they explained, should have been disbursed in 2023 for infrastructure at the basic education level. They are, therefore, demanding an immediate release of the funds.

The government, for the fiscal year 2023, allocated GH¢1.87billion to GETFund – the statutory funding vehicle for the development and maintenance of essential academic facilities and infrastructure. Out of this, GH₵15million was allocated for the basic level, especially the procurement of desks.

However, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) disbursed only GH₵6million out of the GH₵15million to the fund, leaving a greater chunk – GH¢9million – unaccounted for.

The CSOs described the development as worrying, noting that most schools across are currently without students’ desks due to the delay.

Executive Director of Eduwatch Kofi Asare said that with only GH₵6million released late in 2023, no desk was purchased from the GETFund allocation in that year, worsening the desk shortage menace.

“The 2023 GETFund allocation for basic school furniture has not been fully executed. With only GH₵6million released late in 2023, no desk was purchased from the 2023 GETFund allocation in that year. The MoE must expedite action on the procurement of desks for basic schools with the initial GH₵6million,” he said.

Lack of desk menace

Eduwatch, in a recent report, revealed that 2.3 million pupils have no access to desks in basic schools. The report, titled ‘Scoping Study on the Impact of Desk Deficits in Public Basic Schools’, estimated that the government would require some GH¢330million to address the desk deficit in public basic schools.

This investment is necessary to ensure that the about 2.3 million pupils across the primary and junior high school (JHS) levels have access to learning desks.

Apart from the GH¢33omillion required to fill the current desk deficit, about GH¢19million is needed to provide 54,800 desks needed each year for growth in pupils’ numbers.

This paints a gloomy picture about the future of basic education, considering the meagre GH¢15million allocation in 2023, which is yet to be fully disbursed.

Explaining further, he said: “If the current average investment of GH¢18million in furniture at the basic education level continues, it will take Ghana about 18 years to address the desk deficit”, Kofi Asare stated.

GETFund capping

The CSOs described the finance ministry’s refusal to disburse the total GETFund allocations over the past three years as intolerable, given that the government has already capped the fund since 2017.

It would be recalled that as far back as 2020, the CSOs called on the government to completely remove the cap on the GETFund’s receivables since the restriction denies the statutory funding vehicle for educational projects and programmes enough resources to complete existing projects and embark on new ones at the basic level.

They said the 25 percent cap on the GETFund since 2017 is placing undue pressure on the fund and stifling the development of education infrastructure.

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