The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, has authorised the Controller and Accountant General's Department to release ¢35.1 billion to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, for the upgrading of 18 senior secondary schools in the country.
The money, which was sourced from the HIPC Relief Fund,is to be used to pay contractors undertaking various construction works at the beneficiary institutions.
Works being carried out in the various schools include the construction of classroom blocks, teachers bungalows, libraries and computer science departments, among others.
A letter dated May 27, 2004, and signed by a Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr S. Nii-Noi-Ashong, and a copy of which is available to the Daily Graphic said ¢23.9 billion, out of the total amount, would be used to upgrade on-going construction works in nine secondary schools, while the remaining ¢11.1 billion, would be used on those nearing completion.
The letter was copied to the President, The Chief of Staff, The ministers of Education, Youth and Sports as well as Finance and Economic Planning, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), the Auditor-General and the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC).
The beneficiary schools under the on-going projects are Bolgatanga, Bawku, Shama, New Abirem, Asuogyaman, New Drobo, Okomfo Anokye, Ghanatta and Odorgonno secondary schools.Meanwhile, the ¢11.8 billion, would be used for the completion of works at Tweneboa Kodua, Adu Gyamfi, Konongo Odumase, Anglican, Amenfiman, Baidoo Bonsoe, Oda, Oyoko Methodist and Twifo-Praso secondary schools.
Commenting on the release of funds, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, said more than ¢500 billion had been earmarked for the projects which involve a total of 31 beneficiary secondary schools across the country.
According to the minister, some of the schools including Effigyase, Oda and Shama, have not seen any major rehabilitation works in more than four decades. He appealed to district assemblies to quickly effect payment of the moneys which would be lodged in their accounts to ensure speedy completion of the projects.
The minister, who had since visited more than 10 schools in the various regions to monitor the progress of work, said most of the contractors were working around the clock. Mr Baah-Wiredu explained that the projects began in December, last year and were scheduled for completion by the end of this year.