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Free SHS: Gov’t Too Proud To Admit Its Mistakes – Fifi Kwetey   
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Former Deputy Finance Minister, Fifi Kwetey, has said the Akufo-Addo-led government is too proud to admit its mistakes in the implementation of the free Senior High School (SHS) programme.

According to him, government is struggling to raise revenue to finance the flagship programme, yet officials of the administration are unable to tell Ghanaians this difficulty.

The Ketu South MP’s comments come on the heels of suggestions by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta that the free SHS policy must be implemented discriminatorily so that those who have the means, pay for their children’s second-cycle education.

Mr Ofori-Atta, speaking to Citi TV, said: “I don’t think it [Free SHS] is something any of us can compromise on”, adding that: “It may be that there have to be changes in the way in which we are administering it”.

“I can’t take my child to Achimota or Odorgonno and then leave him or her and drive away and Ken Ofori-Atta not pay anything while I can pay for 10 people. … You need to get the data to then be discriminatory in how and who pays and who doesn’t pay”, he said.

Speaking about the next academic year, he said: “You actually going to have, maybe, 180,000 more people but it’s so important, you’d rather make that mistake – if it is a mistake – to get everybody in the system for the nation to then begin to have a conversation and say: ‘OK, this is good for us because we want that human capital and to a certain level, but maybe let’s begin to adjust it this way’”

But in a discussion on Metro TV’s Business Edition on Tuesday, 24 July, Mr Kwetey noted that: “Until the introduction of the free SHS, rich people were paying taxes and yet they were still paying the fees of their own children. Now you come and claim that you want to relieve everybody including the rich and then you say they should not pay anything for the education of their wards.

“Then a year on, you come and tell us that you want to do a progressive tax. The reason for the progressive taxes they introduced in the mid-year budget is because the burden of the free SHS has become such a herculean burden that they can’t carry anymore.

“Instead of just being honest with the people of Ghana and telling them that all of you rich people who used to pay the school fees of your children, we want you to start paying and that we can’t continue this burden, they are too proud, they don’t want to own up to this mistake and now they are hiding under progressive taxation. They should be more candid to the people.”
Source: classfmonline.com

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