Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, we have all listened to what has been put out. The Hon Member who made the Statement did a very good job by trying to remind us of the benefits
of this very laudable programme. We are here because we have been educated to a level which brought us here.
Those of us from very typical villages could all attest to the fact that a lot of very brainy students have turned out to be, excuse my language, palm wine tappers because they did not have the opportunity. Some of them have gone so low that if they had had the opportunity that nwe had, they would have been medical doctors, engineers and top personnel in Government service, giving out a higher productivity to the country that we all want to promote dearly.
Mr Speaker, if we sit here and recognise that there is a lot to gain from this Free SHS Policy, then funding it should not be a topical argument. It is good to start along a line, make sure we improve on what we have done, and make the best out of it.
The ultimate is that we should get all our people to the levels that we are. If not to our levels, at least, above or closer to us. Now, if we go back and look at the statistics, we realise that a lot of people have gone wayward because they did not have the opportunities that the SHS programme offers the people. So, if we recognise that there are gains to be made, then let us please take the funding of this SHS programme more seriously.
Mr Speaker, now, the GETFund has been successful, the NHIS has been successful, and if there is a window to have an SHS Fund, I believe it would be in the right direction. Nothing more is good enough for the task that we have ahead of us. We should all put out heads together and roll behind the wheels.
Mr Speaker, at the recent delivery by the Hon Minister for Finance, he even talked about voluntary contributions. I
can tell that all of us attest to the fact that when we go back to our villages now, we are making contributions towards this good goal. There are a lot of people who are still prepared to give us more, if the window is opened, and more people would be prepared to do this. There are a lot of us who went through hardship before getting the little qualification that we have. I believe that the generations to come should not be subjected to this manner of things that we went through.
Mr Speaker, the business community is prepared. It is only that we are trying to put an adverse argument -- there are a lot of companies that are offering scholarships — [Interruption.] — There are a lot of companies in Ghana here offering scholarships to their personnel. Some give study leave and scholarships to the children of their workers. They build schools for their people. One can go to my village and Newmont has built a school in one of the communities. Newmont, by building the school for the community, would be prepared to do a lot of these things.
There are a lot of Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) — Plan International builds schools and puts up orphanages, and would see this as a laudable effort to be supported.
Mr Speaker, now, we are also, looking if we have a very good intention, we need not bring and incur all costs before we move on a laudable road. This is because people would be prepared if the move is made. Therefore, we need not sit here to say that if we do not have a stakeholders' meeting for people to come and drink coffee and koko — until that time, there cannot be any good thing done.
There are a lot of good things that we can do. As Hon Members of this august