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June 10, 2023
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Free SHS will be reviewed to make it more targeted under IMF bailout – Prof. Gatsi

The Free Senior High School (Free SHS) is among social interventions programmes that would definitely be reviewed under the $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme to make them more targeted, Dean of the Business School of the University of Cape Coast, Professor John Gatsi has said.

Prof Gatsi explained that it is normal for an IMF programme to result in the review of such programmes to make them more efficient.

Speaking on the News 360 on TV3 Thursday, May 18, he said “Indeed they have been told what to do about the free SHS to review it and to make it meet the needs of the people of Ghana.

“That will be done, definitely, there will be a review of the programme to make it more efficient and more accessible to all the people of Ghana.

“Other protections for the vulnerable in a society like LEAP (Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty) and the rest will be made more efficient to be able to be accessed by those who qualify to access.

“So having social perception as part of the programme is normal, we have social protection as part of the earlier IMF programme so if we have social protection again in this one I do not see anything wrong with it but the target of the fund is to make them more productive, to make them more efficient.”

On Thursday During a Joint IMF-Ghana press conference in Washington, the Mission Chief for Ghana Stéphane Roudet, indicated that the social intervention programmes were going to be protected.

Concerns were raised that social interventions such as the Free Senior High School, School Feeding Programme and the LEAP were going to be affected by the bailout.

But Mr Roudet said “Ensuring adequate social protection is key objective of the programme. The 2023 budget has already taken important steps not only to protect but to bolster support for the vulnerable.”

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta also made the same point that the social intervention programmes will not be touched.

“We protecting the vulnerable is very clear in the programme. We are doubling the LEAP programme to ensure the welfare support continues, we should not worry at all,” he said.

He further indicated that there is no rush on the part of the government to return to the international capital market to borrow following the coming on board the $ 3 billion bailout.

When asked a question about Ghana returning to the capital market, Mr Ofpri-Atta said that “In addition to the revenue measures that we saw in the budget that are improving at GRA  and that will give us the resource to move forward, curtailing and managing our expenditures are going to be important.

“There is no rush in going back to the international capital market, our expectation is that in managing our expenditure and increasing our revenue we will have the resources to do it, working towards the capital market is important because we don’t get our ratings up and make the country more attractive for investors, especially FDIs. So no one is rushing to the capital market at this juncture.”

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