The Ranking Member on the Education Committee of Parliament, Peter Nortsu Kortoe, has hinted that the committee will push for the amendment of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) Act.
This follows the Auditor-General’s report citing the GETFund for breaching its mandate and “illegally” funding foreign scholarships.
The report noted that the current Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh and the current Procurement Minister and Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Sarah Adwoa Safo, among other legislators, benefitted from the scheme in the recent past.
Mr. Kortoe in a Citi News interview said the time was ripe for an amendment of the GETFund Act.
“As a committee, we are going to ask for the amendment of the GETFund Act. This is what as a committee we have done several times for the three or four years whenever the formula was presented to the committee for approval or recommendations we said the GETFund Act needed amendment. The Fund was engaging in activities that hitherto were not part of the Act. So we either regularise their activities by amending the law or get them to do exactly what they need to do,” he said.
Other calls for reform
The Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare has also called for radical reforms in the management of scholarships at the GETFund.
According to GETFund’s Annual Reports from 2012 to 2018, the secretariat spent over 400 million cedis on scholarships on 3,112 beneficiaries, out of which 2,217 persons were unlawfully granted scholarships to study abroad.
“This audit report is actually an opportunity to catapult the need for reforms in the policy. It is time for civil society and the media to begin to raise the issue to try and get the attention of local authority towards reforming GETFund because what we need to do is to depoliticize GETFund, but not necessarily a new law. The law is skewed because what they are doing is outside the law since they are giving the monies to party boys and girls, cronies and privileged people in the society, which is not part of the law. So we need to use this Auditor General report to demand radical reforms in the management of the Fund irrespective of the administration in power,” Mr. Asare said.
What performance audit said
The performance audit report said the GETFund Secretariat “breached the object of the fund and administered the scholarship themselves.”
The report also said, “GETFund did not establish any systems, policies, and procedures to ensure the economic, efficient and effective use of public funds.”
The Auditor-General concluded that the failings of the GETFund led to brilliant but needy students being deprived of scholarship in favour of politicians in some cases.