President John Dramani Mahama has been asked to introduce the free Senior High School (SHS) concept this academic year, especially for first year students.
“If this is not done this year but postponed to next year or 2016, an election year, it would backfire, ”Mr Osei Yaw Nketia alias, ‘Dr’ Asemfofro, a popular National Democratic Congress (NDC) serial caller, said.
He said because the New Patriotic Party presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, used the free SHS idea as his campaign slogan for the 2012 Election, President Mahama must take the wind out of his sail by implementing the policy now before the 2016 elections.
It will be recalled that the President, during his state of the nation address this year, gave the strongest indication that his government was going to implement the free SHS concept. The NDC, in the 2012 electioneering, campaigned on quality education and making education progressively free.
According to Dr Asemfoforo, if the policy was implemented in an election year it would backfire because some Ghanaians, especially the opposition, would read politics into it by accusing the government of introducing the concept to win vote.
“A similar scenario happened in President Kufuor’s Administration when it increased fuel prices, only to reduce it because it was an election year,” he recalled.
The NDC activists observed that this action of President Kufuor did not go down well with many Ghanaians because they clearly discerned that the government was playing politics with fuel prices.
He said the free SHS education policy was a good one which would help poor parents send their children to school to avoid the situation where brilliant children may have to stay home because their parents could not afford to pay fees.
He said the government, apart from the free SHS, could distribute free bags, pens, ‘Achimota sandals’, as well as expand the free feeding programme.
Dr Asemfoforo said another area the government could critically look at was the high excise duties at the country’s ports.
He observed that some traders at Abossey Okai, Okaishie and Kumasi Magazine had increased prices of their wares, attributing it to high taxes charged at the ports.
He appealed to the government to reduce the excise duties by at least 30 per cent so that traders may not have any reason to play politics with goods just to make the government unpopular.
Dr Asemfofro said because there were so many forex bureaus, many people were doing business by changing cedis into dollars, leading to the depreciation of the cedi.
Source: Daily Graphic
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