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NPP MP calls for suspension of Free SHS policy, other social intervention programmes

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The Member of Parliament for Akim Swedru, Kennedy Nyarko Osei, has suggested that government should suspend its flagship Free SHS policy.

He said other social intervention policies such as school feeding, Planting for Food and Jobs, and the Nation Builders Corps programmes as well as payment of the teacher and nursing trainee allowances should also be suspended.

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The MP proposed these measures in the wake of growing public concern over the raging economic challenges.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Chairperson of the Roads and Transport Committee opined that government can channel monies that would accrue into other productive sectors to revive the ailing economy.

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“Since most Ghanaians are not appreciating the above interventions and are complaining about hardships, it will be very prudent for government to put those monies into other productive areas of the economy,” the Legislator said.

He explained that government could recoup about ¢5 billion to ¢6 billion if it suspends the aforementioned social intervention programmes.

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According to him, government could then invest this amount into youth employment and the manufacturing industry for the next three years.

Earlier, an Economist and Chairman of the National Development Planning Committee, Prof Stephen Adei, also proposed that the Free SHS programme be reviewed to allow parents who can pay for their children’s education to do so.

He also suggested that the country’s expenditure be reduced.

“If you are exceeding your income, then you must accept to live below your income, which is the easy way, otherwise if you are earning ¢3,000 and you are in debt of ¢10,000 you cannot day to day spend ¢3,000.

For you to get out of the rag you will have to cut your expenditure to ¢2,000 because you must service your debt. So we are in that situation as a country,” he said.

Speaking on Upfront, Wednesday, Prof Adei explained that although cutting expenditure might be difficult for the government, especially nearing an election period, that is the right way to go.  

“… And they [government] must thank God that this crisis has come now and not 2023, because if they don’t go for the hard one now, which normally will take about 18 months to go over this type of hunch, then they have a good chance by the middle of 2023 to see some good results in 2024.

If not, things would get worse and they want to prevent being thrown out of government, they would be thrown out anyway,” he said.

Meanwhile, government is expected to hold a crunch cabinet meeting to find solutions to the raging economic challenges.

The meeting is expected to take place at the Peduase Lodge, from Thursday, March 17, to Sunday, March 20, 2022.

The deliberations will be chaired by President Akufo-Addo and all NPP MPs, ministers, government appointees, and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) leadership.

According to JoyNews’ sources, the meeting will discuss whether government should continue to push through with the E-levy Bill or resort to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in the face of the current fiscal hurdles.

Confirming the retreat on Joy FM’s Midday News on Thursday, the source further said the meeting will discuss other pertinent issues relating to the country’s development.

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