The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) is sceptical about the government’s assurance that social intervention initiatives will be protected despite the commencement of the bailout programme from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta at a joint press conference with the IMF on Thursday, May 18, emphasized that the government has taken specific measures to strengthen social protection programmes and has allocated additional resources to key initiatives.
One notable development highlighted by the Finance Minister is the increased resource envelope for the school feeding programme.
Speaking to Citi News, the General Secretary of GNAT, Thomas Musah says the comments by the Finance Minister contradict what was captured in the 2023 budget statement.
“What the minister has said and given is [not what is captured] in the 2023 budget, they contradict one another. In paragraph 223, it’s there, if you look at bullets 1,2,3, 4, 5 to the 6th bullet, it states that relevant recommendations from the ongoing review of government’s flagship programmes under the policy expenditure exercise undertaken by the World Bank will be implemented while the review is completed.
“When you are making a promise, it must be based on a premise. Are we reviewing the programmes downwards or upwards? These are things we want to know, and we want to know the basis on which the minister said those things. Capitation Grant has been in arrears for over two years, the school feeding programme is also in arrears, and we have heard caterers complaining. We want to see it to be on a document so that it will not be business as usual. We need to get a paradigm shift of doing things right,” General Secretary of GNAT opined.
The Finance Minister reiterated that the government’s commitment to protecting the vulnerable is unwavering and emphasized that there is no cause for alarm.
He said President Nana Addo Dankwak Akufo-Addo has made it clear that the protection of vulnerable groups will not be compromised.
Stéphane Roudet, the IMF Mission Chief for Ghana, acknowledged the significance of social protection programmes in the country’s economic framework.
Roudet highlighted that ensuring the creation and strengthening of such initiatives is a key objective of the IMF collaboration.