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Getfund Operates Without L.I. For 16 Years
 
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29-Jan-2016  
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Ghana Educational Trust Fund (GETFund) Secretariat has been operating without a Legislative Instrument (L.I.) for the past 16 years of its existence.

The Secretariat which established in year 2000 by an act of Parliament, Act 581 has been operating without an L.I. which would have indicate in detail the specific functions and activities to be undertaken by the secretariat in managing the fund.

This revelation came to light when the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament presented its report to the committee of the whole on the floor of Parliament.

However, the Chairman of the committee Hon. Kwaku Agyeman Manu informed the house that the Board of Trustees of the fund has completed its work on a draft L.I. and was currently with the Minister of Education for onward submission to Cabinet.

The Committee therefore urged the Minister to ensure that the draft is presented to Cabinet for onward transmittal to Parliament for consideration and passage. This would ensure that all the bottlenecks hindering the effective functioning and management of the funds are removed.

GETFund plays no role in the determination projects 

The committee’s report has it that the secretariat plays no role in the determination of projects, as well as the awarding contract to be executed by the various tertiary institutions. All that the secretariat does is just to disburse funds to the institutions base on the approved formula by parliament.

This according to the report was so as a result of the autonomous nature of the various tertiary institutions. These institutions without any consultation with the secretariat to ascertain whether there are funds available to complete a particular project, but on their own initiates, planed and award contract and expect the secretariat to fund it without any proper due diligence.

Multiple projects were executed simultaneously in most of the tertiary institutions when there were no funds to complete them due to lack of consultation and partnership between the secretariat and the institutions the committee emphasized.

“For instance, between year 2005 and 2010, the University of Ghana embarked on sixteen (16) projects concurrently whiles the Tamale Polytechnic also carried out eleven (11) projects within the same period. As a result, projects which stated as far back as 2004 were still on-going as at now” the committee noted.

This has resulted in unexpected and unforeseen expenditure thereby increasing the estimated cost of the projects.

Cost overrun of projects

Again the committee observed that there were significant cost overruns of projects due to price fluctuations of construction materials. This was attributed to delays in payment to contractors which some time takes between three (3) and six (6) months contrary to the twenty-eight (28) days payment period provided for under clause 43 of the Public Procurement Act.

The delay in payment has become the major cause of preventing contractors from working according to schedule thereby stalling the numerous projects across the country. The committee reiterated.

An audit conducted by the Auditor-General, analysis of five (5)projects completed on time showed that price fluctuations of projects could be achieved within the contract permissible rang of 0 to 15 per cent. However, due to delays in payment to contractors which resulted in extension of time, price fluctuations on some projects increased the original cost of the project by about 44%.

“For instance the school of Performing Arts Theatre project at the University of Ghana which commenced in year 2005 at a time a bag of cement was sold at GHC5.70.00 increased to GHC10.60.00 in year 2006 when the project was scheduled to have been completed but the project is still on-going and a bag of cement had risen to GHC30.00 and under such situations, the contractor will not be able to control cost overruns.

Interest on Delayed Payment

The committee further noted that because of delay in payment, institutions paid interest at a equivalent to the prevailing commercial rate.

A perfect example is the case of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) paid a whooping sum of GHC96, 560.55 as interest on delayed payment for the construction of an examination hall, while Kumasi Polytechnic paid GHC847, 917.00 as interest for the construction of an Academic Complex.

Again the University of Cape Coast (UCC) also paid GHC13, 297.17 and GHC83, 935.50 as interest on delayed payment in year 2008 and 2009 respectively for the construction of the School of Business.

The committee therefore, called on Ministry of Finance to ensure that releases into the Fund are made on time and in accordance with section four (4) of the Getfund Act, 2000 (ACT 581). The Ministry of Education on the other hand, should also ensure that Getfund and National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) are involved in the project cycle of institutions and also conduct regular monitoring of projects to ensure value for money of all Getfund projects.

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