Parliament has approved a 156 million dollar loan facility between the government of Ghana and the International Development Association to finance the Ghana Secondary School Education Improvement Project.
The project forms part of government’s promise to build 200 new Senior High Schools across the country. `
Part of the loan facility will also be used as scholarship for students in deprived areas who may have difficulties in paying their fees.
But one aspect of the loan facility which is the provision of free sanitary pads for female students has attracted heated debate .
Some Members of Parliament objected the idea that Ghana will borrow money to buy sanitary pads.
“…There are a lot of items in this that in fact people will not take us serious; going to borrow money to buy sanitary pads. We must be serious…!,’’ a minority MP said.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Deputy Minority Leader, Dominic Ntiwul said the Minority’s only problem with the loan agreement “is from the project cost breakdown’’.
According to him the cost of a school has been inflated by the government.
“We told them in parliament that we will support the loan only on condition that they go back and re-look at the figures that accompany the project breakdown; for example during the budget the government budgeted for 50 schools, the cost of each unit school was 4 million Ghana Cedis and it was to be financed from GetFund.,’’ he said.
The MP for Bimbilla further explained that government is now claiming to construct the same unit school at a cost of GHC13.7 million with a World Bank loan.
“…and when you have taken a loan which you will pay with interest; you are saying that the cost of the same school is now GHC13.7 million; we find that unfortunate,’’ he added.
The minority also raised concerns on an amount of GHC50.9million which government intends to use for research, monitoring and evaluation. ‘’Secondly you are spending another 50.88million Ghana Cedis on scholarship; comprising buying school uniforms, maths set, school bags, books, sanitary pads…,’’ he revealed.
Mr. Ntiwul questioned how government plans to sustain the project after exhausting the loan.
‘’If you buy these things once and the money finish what are you going to do,’’ he quizzed.
By: Evans Effah/citifmonline.com/Ghana