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Increase VAT by 2.5% to fund Free SHS – Group

The Forum for Development is appealing to government to increase VAT by 2.5% to support the newly launched Free Senior High School education policy.

The Akufo-Addo-led government has rolled out its widely publicized free education policy at the second cycle level, hoping to give access to all.

The Forum has commended government for the initiative, however, it is apprehensive it will collapse without strong pecuniary backing.

“However, we believe that such a great initiative needs a strong financial backbone or else it will suffer premature death. We therefore urge government to increase VAT by 2.5% purposely to fund the policy so it will not suffer same fate as other pro poor policies.

“We strongly believe that the increase will reduce the tendency of successive government abandoning the free Senior High School policy due to lack of funds. This will ensure continuity of this laudable initiative. We estimate Government generating GHC 1.3 billion a year from the increase, coupled with budgetary allocations will be enough to fund the policy,” the Forum said in a statement.

The policy is currently being funded by revenue from natural resources.

Below is the full statement from the Forum:

INCREASE VAT BY 2.5% TO SUSTAIN FREE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL

Forum For Development (FFD) a pressure group with the focus on the efficient implementation of Government’s pro poor policies wishes to congratulate the government for honoring its promise of implementing free Senior High School policy.

We commend the government for such a bold initiative as it will serve as a vehicle for improving access for all.

Since education is an antidote in bridging the gap between the poor and the rich, this policy will in the future eradicate extreme poverty and hunger from the Country.

However, we believe that such a great initiative needs a strong financial backbone or else it will suffer premature death. We therefore urge government to increase VAT by 2.5% purposely to fund the policy so it will not suffer same fate as other pro poor policies.

We strongly believe that the increase will reduce the tendency of successive government abandoning the free Senior High School policy due to lack of funds. This will ensure continuity of this laudable initiative. We estimate Government generating GHC 1.3 billion a year from the increase, coupled with budgetary allocations will be enough to fund the policy.

We also support Government intention to use part of proceeds of our natural resources to fund the free Senior High School policy, however we urge government to back this with a Legislative Instrument to give it legal backing. We urge Ghanaians to support the smooth implementation of this policy and further urge them to resist any attempt by future Governments to scrap the policy.

SIGNED
Abraham Arthur
Isaac Kwarteng
Amaning Ralpheal
Osei Owusu
Kofi Nimako

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