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03.11.2020 Feature Article

Mahama’s Free SHS To Boost Local Economies Through Decentralized Procurement

Mahama’s Free SHS To Boost Local Economies Through Decentralized Procurement
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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 a continuous economic growth without any positive reflection in the lives of the ordinary people. That is why it is imperative for governments to endeavor 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 it’s 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 to note that, before the Nana Addo led government, school management at the SHS level were allowed to undertake their own procurements 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. Even the procurement of books and other related materials was taken from the heads and school management, 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 the school management of restoring local procurement and effective participation of these managements in decision making. On page 70, the people’s manifesto in paragraph “n” captures:

-the next NDC government will decentralize 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 central government and school management at all levels, the people’s manifesto in 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 centralized. One has to be connected to the powers that be to get a contract to supply gari. Before the Nana led the NPP government, some teachers were encouraged to write books and the school management recommend some of their books for their schools. Now, the government has centralized this and supply the books most of the time from one author for all schools across the country.

All of these policies being implemented by the NPP do not only weaken school management at the SHS level but equally weakens the local players in the economy. With the next NDC government, local participation will be restored through decentralized procurement in order to boost the local economies. All these proposals by HE John Mahama and the NDC do not require “big cash” to execute but the political will.

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