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The Member of Parliament for the Effutu constituency in the Central Region, Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin, is advocating a special tax for the financing of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy currently being implemented by the Akufo-Addo government.
According to him, the benefits to be derived from the successful implementation of the policy by far outweighs any financial burden that might arise as a result of the introduction of a levy to facilitate the financing of secondary education for all.
The MP made the observation on the Floor of Parliament on Tuesday when he made a statement to canvass support for the Free SHS policy following the challenges that bedeviled its initial implementation. He wants his fellow MPs to help the government find sustainable funding sources for the policy.
“We indeed have to make sure that free SHS education is a big success by introducing a special tax that would help us sustain such a laudable course. Money invested in the Free SHS in a long run comes back to the citizenry. Quite a number of people look at Free SHS as a burden to the society but if you carefully think through, Mr. Speaker, Free SHS actually gives us far more than it will take from us in the form of taxes or money,” he observed.
Mr. Afenyo Markin is of the view that human capital is considered the best natural resource in today’s world hence the need to help the programme succeed.
“A person educated to the SHS level can explore better opportunity for himself on one hand and on the other hand, the entire nation will benefit from his/her worth,” he further asserted.
He is convinced that there is Goodwill to pay Free SHS tax, “the citizen will be willing to contribute a bit of tax once the tax is dedicated to a policy with far reaching benefits such as the Free SHS policy. The Free SHS will equip the youth in specific skills and also something less tangible but more profound; impacting of knowledge; good judgment; intelligence and wisdom. The introduction of tax has worked in the case of NHIS, GETFund and YEA and it will work in the case of Free SHS.”
However, the Member of Parliament for the Keta constituency, Richard Quashigah, in his contribution to the statement disagreed with the suggested SHS Tax. He said levying the citizenry for additional tax to fund SHS is a very lazy way of funding such prominent campaign promises.
“Clearly, funding Free SHS is a dilemma. It has become a very tricky issue which has become an albatross around our neck. Now in the implementation, we have another monster which is confronting us, which is lack of infrastructure. Because, clearly we do not have in place adequate infrastructure and you say you are implementing Free SHS which would quadruple the numbers, you’ll certainly have problems of which we have to go back to the regular sources of taxing the people. A lot of people would say that is a very lazy way of raising resources to address the need,” he stated.
He said the voter would be shortchanged if the government turns around to levy the people to provide them a service which is labeled as Free.
The Free SHS was a major campaign promise of the NPP during the 2012 and 2016 elections.
Source: Clement Akoloh || afriwakeradio.com