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GHc147.5 Million 'Disappears' In Education Sector!
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A member of Parliament, Hon. Simon Osei Mensah, has blown the whistle on an amount of GHc147 million that may have disappeared into thin air within the corridors of the Ministry of Education.

The Member of Parliament blew the whistle on this in a letter to the press yesterday.

Explaining, Hon. Osei Mensah said that in 2011, the NDC government decided to source funding to provide additional educational infrastructure for Senior High schools. A the time and according to the government the classrooms and dormitory blocks were inadequate to meet requirements of the number of students at the time and additional intake for then current academic year.

He said that consequently, a loan agreement of GH85,000.00 was laid in Parliament and approved on 17th March, 2011 with maturity period of 60 months and a grace or moratorium period of 12 months. The purpose of the loan was to obtain funds to support the provision of infrastructure for Senior High Schools int eh country.

According to the government total funds required for the project was GH147.5 million. GETFund Secretariat was providing GH45.00 million and GH85.00 million loan facility from CAL Bank Ghana Limited. The source of funding for the remaining GH17.5 million was not indicated in the Finance Committee report. The GETFund component of GH45.00 million was to provide 214 eight-unit classroom blocks at an average cost of GH210,000.00. On the other hand the GH85,000,000.00 was to provide 161 six-unit classroom blocks and 55 two-storey dormitory blocks.

The source of the remaining GH17.5 million was not disclosed to Parliament. "Actually, i realized the average project cost of the Call Bank facility was problematic. The simple reason initially was that the GETFund funding of eight-unit classroom blocks at an average cost of GH210,000.00, whilst that of the GH85.00 million was at an average of GH261,000.00 fr a six-unit classroom block. The eight-unit classroom block was therefore cheaper than the six-unit classroom blocks," he said.

Hon. Osei Mensah said that observing these differences in costs of the projects, he asked an urgent question in Parliament on the average unit cost of the 6-unit classroom and two-storey dormitory blocks, which was answered on 8th June, 2011 by the then Minister of Education, Mrs. Betty Mould iddrisu. He said that it came to light that 6-unit classroom block which cost about GH80,000.00 in Ashanti region in 2008 then cost averagely over GH261,000.00, even appreciating against the US dollar. "Actually, this depicted very high inflated project cost, since the amount that could be used to build three similar 6-unit classroom blocks in 2008 was being used to build just a single block," he said.

Hon Osei Mensah said that notwithstanding the inflated cost, he also had reason to doubt the integrity of the project implementation process. He said that his suspicion was proved because when the Ministry appeared before the public Accounts Committee hearing in August 2016 they could not provide information on even 30 of the 6-unit classroom blocks that have been constructed.

"The Ministry was represented by the Minister, Naana Opoku Agyemang, her Deputy, Mr. Okudjato Ablakwa and other high ranking officers at the Ministry. Surprisingly, the Minister new next to nothing about the project, so the Deputy Minister had to to what he knows best-propaganda.

"Besides the classroom and dormitory blocks the GH85,000,000.00 CAL Bank loan facility had a component of GH9.048 for the provision of classroom furniture and bunk beds for the dormitory blocks. The total amount required for the supply of classroom furniture and bunk beds is GH34.9 million. As we speak as to how the difference of GH29.852 has been raised is not known.

"I am at this point challenging the Minister of Education to provide the whole country within seven days of this classroom and two-storey dormitory blocks construct between January 2009 and 31 October, 2016, their locations and sources of funding.

"If his information is not provided it confirms the positions of majority of Ghanaians that most of the loans contracted by the government have not been utilized for the purposes for which they were contracted,

"The question is where are the 6-unit classroom, 8-unit classroom block and the funds for furniture and bunk beds? Where is the GH147.5 million? The Ghanaian tax payer must be informed what their money has been used for!!!" he concluded.

Source: Daily dispatch

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