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IMF to cancel Free SHS , NABCO , National Cathedral , cut gov’t size & others

The Akufo-Addo government, begins its bailout discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today, but already there are indications that, it will have to let off some of its key programmes and projects, if it is going to realize its objectives of going before the Fund under a state of emergency.

The fanciful US$450 million National Cathedral, will have to be halted and so will the incessant rental of luxurious private jets from Europe to Ghana to fly the President on his foreign trips sometimes at almost US$22,000, be halted by the IMF experts to save cost.

Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, has opined that the IMF officials are not coming to create prosperity, but help the government streamline its activities and attain fiscal discipline.

It is being speculated that, this fiscal discipline will also mean cutting down on the size of his appointments, particularly the number of ministers whom most Ghanaians have lost count of.    

Among the programmes making the rounds to be scrapped is the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) which the government claims it had partially employed some 67,000 youth paying them GHC700 and above.

But the major programme to go down, is the much touted Free Senior High School (Free SHS) initiative which the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, had long signaled his readiness to let go or review by having parents who can afford, to pay the fees for their wards do so.

 The wholesale scholarship, is not sustainable as it has denied the Akufo-Addo government financial muscle to carry out other projects in roads and schools among others.

Many projects which have had their sods cut, have been abandoned because there was no funding for them. In cases where the projects started, the contractors have had to leave the sites, because the project had run out of funding.

The La General Hospital project is one of such projects. The sod-cutting ceremony was done on Tuesday, August 10, 2020, by President Nana Akufo-Addo, but the Sixty eight million euros (€68 million), with an insurance cover of three million, eight hundred and sixty thousand euros (€3,860,349.18), is yet to be take off.

 The project, said to be financed by a credit facility from Standard Chartered Bank of the United Kingdom, with an export credit guarantee from Sinosure of the People’s Republic of China, hasn’t taken off yet.

The project is supposed to be undertaken by the Chinese company, Poly Changda, which has wide-ranging experience in China and other parts of Africa in the construction of healthcare facilities.

Upon completion, it will be transformed into a one hundred and sixty (160) bed facility, and it will be fitted with an outpatient department; inpatient wards; maternity and neonatal services; surgical unit with four (4) theatres; accident and emergency department; public health department; pharmacy unit; laboratory; administration; imaging area, with CT Scan, X-ray room, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, mammography units; physiotherapy unit; and a mortuary.    

Meanwhile, in the case of the Free SHS, former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, observed that the government’s flagship programme is taking a huge chunk of its resources, adding the cost of sponsoring the programme was unsustainable.

“Free SHS in its unfettered form is not sustainable. Your debt is not sustainable, and you’re borrowing. You’re using your whole revenue to cover compensation and interest. You’re borrowing for the past debts that you’ve borrowed to repay, you borrow to support free SHS. That’s not a palatable discussion,” he said.

Recounting how the Mahama-led administration dealt with an economic downturn,

Herald

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication do not in anyway reflect the opinions of State News Ghana

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