Education think tank Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch) has said that the 2023 budget is Ghana’s inception budget for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and it is dictated by the conditionalities of expenditure cuts in the education sector.
For the first time in two decades, Eduwatch said, only 12.9 per cent of budgeted expenditure was allocated to education, which is far below UNESCO’s minimum benchmark of 15 per cent. Ghana also fell short of the minimum benchmark of 4 per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) allocation to education, with a 3 per cent attainment in the same budget.
“The cuts have direct negative implications on equitable access and quality, especially on the supply of teaching and learning resources, teacher deployment and infrastructure provision,” a statement said.
Regarding GETFund, infrastructure financing and equitable access to basic education, Eduwatch said to meet the conditions for an IMF programme, the government must restrict borrowing within acceptable limits, cut down on public expenditure and increase revenue.
“Notwithstanding Ghana’s fiscal situation, there is a huge budgetary expenditure of over GHC205.4 billion planned for 2023, with a revenue and grants projection of GHC 144 billion10,” it said.
“Among the ways government is financing the budget is to latch onto some earmarked funds and divert part for general budget support. The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) is one of the most reliable earmarked funds primarily dedicated to developing education infrastructure. More than half of the government’s education infrastructure budget, otherwise called Capital Expenditure, is financed from the GETFund.”
The pending IMF programme is Ghana’s seventeenth since independence.
Eduwatch said “All previous programmes came with conditionalities ranging from expenditure cuts and increased taxation. The IMF has indicated that it has departed from the era of conditionalities to a regime of home-grown programmes initiated by applicant countries, once the programmes meet their benchmarks.
“However, there are inherent benchmarks Ghana must meet regarding expenditure and debt profiles, with both having severe implications on education service delivery towards attaining the targets in the Education Strategic Plan by 2030.”