Opinion: Mahama to decentralize procurement under Free SHS to boost local economies


Economic development happens when majority of the participants and players in the economy are local and not foreign expatriates. An economy where expatriates dominate can have a higher GDP and continuous growth without any positive reflection in the lives of the ordinary people.

That is why it is imperative for governments to endeavour to engineer local participation in the economy in order to get the multiplier effect in the lives of the citizens.

In Ghana, the education sub-sector is inevitably one of the key sectors around which the economy revolves. So, if any government is interested in the economic development of the citizens, then its policies must have a direction towards engineering local participation at all levels of the education sector.

It is for the above reason that H.E John Dramani Mahama pledges to allow the structures at every level of the education sub-sector to work as it were before the coming of the current NPP administration. It is worthy of note that, before the Nana Akufo-Addo-led government, school managements at the SHS level were allowed to undertake their own procurement of food, books and some other materials.

Since the inception of the 2017/18 academic year, the procurement of food was centralized to allow some unknown agents with direction from the Buffer Stock Company to supply food to he schools.

Even the procurement of books and other related materials were taken from the heads and school managements, thereby rendering heads of secondary schools and school managements redundant. The ultimate effect is that, local suppliers of food, books and other materials who were part of the supply chain and key players in the local economy have had their jobs taken to the centre.

The next John Mahama administration has assured headmasters, bursars and school managements of restoring local procurement and effective participation of these managements in decision-making. On page 70, the People’s Manifesto in paragraph “n” states:

…The next NDC government will decentralise and strengthen procurement of food and other materials to the heads in SHSs and their bursars.

In order to equally strengthen and promote collaboration between the government and school managements at all levels, the People’s Manifesto on page 70, paragraph “p” pledges to restore free expression and eschew intimidation among stakeholders in the education sub-sector.

Today in Ghana, even the procurement of gari is centralised. One has to be connected to the powers that be to get a contract to supply gari. Before the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government, some teachers were encouraged to write books and the school management recommended some of their books for their schools. Now, government has centralised this and supplies the books, mostly  from one author, to all schools across the country.

All of these policies being implemented by the NPP do not only weaken school managements at the SHS level, but equally weakens the local players in the economy. With the next NDC government, local participation will be restored.

By: Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese

(Loud Citizen From Laribanga)


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