NPP Government admits it has failed on its economic policies

Set to Cut Down on Free SHS, Other Social Programs

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The Akufo-Addo government is looking to review all of its flagship programs, including Free SHS, in a desperate move to save the collapsing economy of Ghana.

Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who has for some time now been on the quiet, emerged in the media early this week to report that this was one of the critical resolutions from the government’s crunch meeting on the desperate state of affairs at Peduase.

On Accra-based Citi FM, Oppong Nkrumah was his vintage self, as usual, using innuendos to ultimately indicate that the Akufo Addo administration is angling to drop some of its populist programs like hot potatoes or totally scale them down.

“All the 16 flagship programs are up to be looked at. The President has directed that the flagship programs should be protected and fully implemented to ensure that the impact is achieved. However, he wants it done within the constraints of item number 2 which is the fiscal framework we are working with. If based on the caps that we are working with we will have to re-scope a particular flagship program, we will do it and see how much we can achieve,” Oppong Nkrumah stated.

“All the 16 are up for discussion, none is off-limit. Only that the President has laid down the red line that we will not compromise on the fiscal consolidation agenda because our real problem over the years has been a year-on-year deficit going out of hand.”

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For many experts, Free SHS and its haphazard implementation elicit anger. This program was the brainchild of former President John Mahama, who had started its implementation smoothly as ‘progressively free SHS.

The Mahama brand of Free SHS started by targeting brilliant but needy students across schools in anger with scholarships, with the intent of gradually scaling up the implementation to cover all schools in a stepped calculation after the building of more schools.

Then in 2017 Mr. Akufo-Addo won power and breezed into office with populist fervor. He pushed aside Manama’s progressively Free SHS and launched his own Free SHS.

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Basking in the popularity of the policy, President Akufo-Addo did not even pilot such a nationally consequential program.

Soon, SHS students were forced to study in long shifts, in which students would often be in school for three months and spend six months at home on vacation. It was derogatorily called “traffic light” because of the color codes given to the batches in the shifts.

Last week, the President of the think-tank, IMANI Africa, pointed out that the implementation of Free SHS had just lacked planning.

Meanwhile, many experts have urged the government to swallow its pride and run to the IMF for a bailout, however with elections coming in 2024, an IMF bailout could be costly to the NPP as the Fund is likely to ask the government to make hard choices that would raise investor confidence but will take some time to yield fruits.

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According to a statement by the Ministry of Information issued on Monday, March 21, 2022, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, will later in the week brief Ghanaians on measures government seeks to implement to address current economic challenges.

It says President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has approved a number of “far-reaching measures” aimed at mitigating the depreciation of the Cedi, ensuring expenditure discipline, and providing relief in the face of global fuel price hikes and inflation as well as ensuring that priority programs meant to grow the economy are protected.

Source: whatsupnewsghana

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