On Tuesday, 4th January 2022, President Akufo-Addo delivered a speech at the 6th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi.
President Akufo-Addo claimed that his government’s commitment to education “has been so great that public expenditure on education has almost doubled from GH¢20.7 billion between 2013 and 2016 to GH¢40.4 billion between 2017 and 2020 .”
The President added: this percentage, which represents a 95% increase, took place between the “Mahama era and the Akufo-Addo era.”
I submit emphatically that President Akufo-Addo’s claims are terribly wrongly and pathetically misleading.
As the unimpeachable data below confirms, the President’s numbers and percentages are gravely inaccurate.
It is imperative to point out that my data sources are: Ghana’s Budget Statement and Economic Policy documents, Ministry of Finance Project-Based Budgeting publications and the World Bank.
May I add that this analysis focuses on actual expenditure and not projected allocations.
President Akufo-Addo must be informed that the globally accepted benchmark in evaluating the real commitment of any government with respect to public expenditure on education is to assess the share of GDP spent on education.
UNESCO and “The Education 2030 Framework for Action” insist on the ‘crucial reference point’ of countries allocating at least 4% to 6% of GDP to education.
It is deeply frightening to acknowledge that under the watch of President Akufo-Addo, Ghana has not only missed this global benchmark in four out of five years, we are also alarmingly witnessing a steady decline.
When placed in the share of GDP context, the lowest levels of public spending on education over the last 20 years have been recorded during President Akufo-Addo’s tenure.
As we say, figures don’t lie — President Mahama posted 4.6% in 2013, 4.7% in 2014, 4.6% in 2015 and 4.5% in 2016.
Compare this to President Akufo-Addo’s 3.6% in 2017, 4.0% in 2018, 3.5% in 2019, 3.3% in 2020 and an abysmal 3.0% in 2021.
Clearly, President Akufo-Addo’s best performance of 4.0% in 2018 is worse than President Mahama’s lowest performance of 4.5% in 2016.
As the data reveals and as UNESCO records confirm, President Mahama has never fallen short of the global benchmark of a minimum of 4% share of total GDP throughout his tenure as President unlike President Akufo-Addo.
Indeed, Ghana’s all-time best performance occurred in 2011 with an impressive 8.14% when the NDC’s President Mills and Vice President Mahama were at the helm of affairs.
So, it is really a matter of: to whom much is given, much is required, and not throwing unreliable, meaningless numbers in the faces of people.
Respectfully, President Akufo-Addo embarrasses our country within the comity of nations when he engages in such dishonest obfuscation, in the face of widely accepted global standards.
Kindly refer to the tables and graph below for further illumination.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
[MP for North Tongu, Former Deputy Minister for Education]