Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance

Members of Parliament have lamented the capping regime of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) warning it poses a major challenge to the Fund’s operation.

The policy, the members warned, continues to reduce monies that should conventionally accrue to the fund and inhibiting its performance.

Parliament was informed that the ability of GETFund to pursue its mandate as expected will be greatly affected by the capping regime and the untimely releases by the Ministry of Finance.

The complaint is contained in the report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed formula for the distribution of the GETFund.

The Committee is chaired by the First Deputy Speaker, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu.

The members stressed that in order not to defeat the purpose for which the GETFund was set up, the Ministry of Finance should ensure that monies expected to be made available to the Fund for the execution of projects and programs are duly released and on time.

The Committee observed that out of an amount of GH¢1.207 billion approved for the 2019 fiscal year, actual accruals to the Fund was GH¢1.118 billion leaving a shortfall of GH¢88.4 billion.

“Out of the GH¢1.118 billion only GH¢557.973 million was released by the Ministry of Finance as at the end of July 2019.

“No releases were made for the period August to December 2019, leaving an outstanding debt balance of GH¢560.43 million,” the report noted.

This, the Committee said, adversely affected the implementation of planned projects and programmes of the fund.

The House expressed concern about the development and urged the Ministry to institute measures to address the situation, which often disrupts the Funds schedule for the implementation of projects and payments to contractors among others.

For the 2020 fiscal year, an amount of GH¢1.228 billion is expected to accrue into the GETFund and members stressed it is imperative for the government to ensure the accruals are released for the purpose for which the Fund was set up.

In the distribution formula, 15.69% will go into debt service reserve while 40.22% goes into debt service account.

Tertiary Education has been allocated 18.32%, Second Cycle Education 8.69%, Basic Education 7.94%, Ministry of Education 7.01% and MPs (emergency projects and monitoring) 2.13%.

The Committee also expressed concerns about a US$1.5 billion loan facility that the Fund is expected to start servicing the first tranche this year.

An amount of US$500 million is therefore expected to be paid estimated at 55.91% of the total expenditure of the fund, which means only 44% of the expected accruals for 2020 would be available to cater for the projects and programmes of the fund.

The loan facility, the House was informed, enabled GETFund to pay contractors whose certificates were in arrears.

The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) is a public trust set up by an Act of Parliament in the year 2000.

Its core mandate is to provide funding to supplement government effort for the provision of educational infrastructure and facilities within the public sector from the pre-tertiary to the tertiary level.