The Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, has given an assurance that the government will deepen social intervention policies by aligning statutory funds to national goals.
The statutory funds are the Ghana Education Trust Fund (Getfund), the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) and the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
Mr Terkper gave the assurance at an event hosted by the World Bank Group for the First Lady of the United States, Mrs Michelle Obama, last Wednesday as part of the ongoing World Bank/IMF Spring meetings in Washington, DC, USA.
The minister, who shared the platform with Mrs Obama and the World Bank President, Dr Jim Yong Kim, announced that as part of the national goals, the government would launch an inclusive educational policy by June 2016 and also roll out a gender educational policy from 2017.
The event, on the theme: “Let Girls Learn”, is an initiative of Mrs Obama which was launched a year ago with President Obama to marshal the resources and political will to address the range of issues preventing adolescent girls from going to school.
Let Girls Learn
Already, ‘Let Girls Learn’ has been effective at catalysing additional support and calling attention to the issue of adolescent girls’ education.
“We will continue to earmark 7.5 per cent of all VAT receipts to finance educational infrastructure and other expenditure, including targeted girl-child educational programmes,” Mr Terkper said.
He also said the government would increase non-salary funding per child through the expansion of base school grants.
“Ghana commits to increase opportunities for adolescent girls and will continue to expand, accelerate and target its programmes to strengthen girls’ participation in schools.
“With these commitments, the additional effort will result in the creation and sustenance of educational opportunities for an estimated 1.5 million girls in junior and senior high schools,” Mr Terpker said.
The Finance Minister said the government would build on the progress achieved under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to facilitate the educational goals under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) .
World Bank President
Dr Jim announced that the bank would, over the next five years, invest at least US$2.5 billion in education that would benefit adolescent girls in developing countries, so that they could stay in school and study.
“We expect that about three-quarters of this investment will come from the IDA, our fund for the poorest countries, and will go largely to sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, which have the largest number of out-of-school adolescent girls,” he said.
He described Mrs Obama as a tremendous champion of the rights of girls and women.
“Right now around the world, 62 million girls are not in school, and about half of these are adolescents. Not only do we need to get more girls into school; we also need to ensure that they can stay in school and receive quality secondary education,” he said.
Mrs Obama highlighted the power of investment in adolescent girls, as well as the transformative impact that adolescent girls’ education had on girls, their families and their countries.
“This isn’t just a breathtaking investment of resources; it’s also a powerful statement of mission. It’s an expression of our belief in the power of education to transform the lives and prospects of millions of girls worldwide, as well as the prospects of their families, communities and countries.
“The evidence is very clear: when we invest in girls’ education and we embrace women in our workforce, that doesn’t benefit them, it benefits all of us,” she said.