Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has touted the impact of government’s Free Senior High School (Free SHS) programme in the lives of families amid an economic crunch.
According to him, the programme has “lessened the burden on families” as the country experiences one of it worst economic meltdown.
Speaking to Kenyan private TV channel, KTN News, Bawumia blamed the country’s economic challenges on the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war stressing that the cost of living globally has increased phenomenally with Ghana being no exception.
He said despite the economic crunch, the government continues to implement the Free SHS programme which has ultimately brought respite to families.
“Ghana has been no exception and I’m sure Kenya has not been an exception, either because food prices and energy prices have gone up and they have inflationary consequences and exchange rate consequences and they have really squeezed budgets in that respect.
“In Ghana, we are trying to deal with it in this context of very squeezed and tight budget on the monetary policy side. The Central Bank is trying to contain inflation through their monetary policy.
“There have been a number of interest rate increases to try to contain the situation. Government continues to offer free senior secondary school education to our citizens which has also continued to lessen the burden on families in terms of cost of living. Otherwise, without it, it would have been much worse,” Bawumia contended.
The Vice President indicated that the way to resolve crises when they plague a country is to increase production.
“Ultimately, you deal with this crisis by expanding your production. If it is a food crisis, then we need to increase food production and that is how we want to tackle it in Ghana. The energy side is a little bit more difficult since we are net importers of oil and we are taking things at the dictates of the international market.
“So we hoping that sooner or later, the Ukraine crisis will abate and bring down energy prices for all of us. But I think that government is continuously looking at ways to deal with it [economic crunch]” he said.
The government implemented the Free SHS programme in 2017 to eradicate financial barriers in accessing second cycle level education.
Amid an economic crunch, there have been growing calls for government to review the programme to allow some cost to be borne by parents.