Complete existing projects before initiating new ones—Education Minister advises

The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has advised managers of public universities in the country to complete all existing projects on campuses before initiating new ones. 

He also urged the universities to have dedicated sources of funding before starting any infrastructural project.

Dr Prempeh gave this advice when he accompanied officials of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), to respond to audit report query at the Public Accounts Committee sitting, in Accra, yesterday. 

He said “You can’t start something when you don’t know where the funding is coming from. Funding should be agreed on before you even commence and if it is a multi-year project, the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) can factor it into their budget”. 

Dr Prempeh stressed that “we have observed that the universities start their own project and send bills to the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to pay unlike other levels of education where GETFund gives the approval before projects are started”.

The Auditor-General’s report on the UCC revealed that the university doubled the cost of a facility it was putting up without approval. 

Officials of the school explained that the cost of the facility, originally a one-storey, had to be doubled after a review of the plan to a two-storey facility. 

This, they, however, said was done without prior approval by the Public Procurement Authority. 

Dr Prempeh, responding to what steps had been taken to ensure that projects were completed according to schedule, said all schools had been asked to complete all existing projects before new ones were initiated. 

According to him, there were a plethora of projects scattered across the university campuses, which needed to be completed before new ones were initiated. 

“There is a letter [directing] that no new product should be started. When you go to some campuses, they have eight or sometimes 12 GETFund projects and the amount of money that comes in is spread over all these projects or start new project.” 

In his estimation, these funds were sometimes enough to finish maybe “one or two” of the projects that had stalled. 

“So we are trying to collaborate with GETFund so that we could finish some of these projects before new ones are started,” he told the James Klutse Avedzi chaired Committee. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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