The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has paid off the remainder owing for 50 school buses with Le21 billion (Le21,682,779,707) through the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE). Matthew Dingie, Principal Deputy Financial Secretary, promised during the close of the 2020 Budget Discussions that they will complete the 60% payment for the 50 school buses. “The buses that were supplied we did not pay in full because we had to wait based on the contractual terms to make sure that they are road worthy and there are no complaints,” he said. Amongst other payments to support the FQSE is the Le43 billion (Le43,245,047,600) school fees subsidy for the first term of the 2019/2020 academic school year, and this too has been paid to 6,453 government and government-assisted schools for 2,046,188 pupils across the country.
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According to a press release from the Ministry of Finance on 21st October 2019, the categories of schools include, 318 Pre-Primary, 4,743 Primary, 1,043 Junior Secondary and 349 Senior Secondary schools. In addition, the second instalment for the supply of six core textbooks to junior and senior secondary schools amounting to Le63billion (Le63,064,477,099) has been paid. These payments, Dingie said, is in line with their support to human capital development with the releasing of funds to schools, Local Councils, secondary health units and government hospitals. “This is to show you the effort we are making to deliver services to the critical sectors,” he added. “It is true that there have been complaints about delays in the release of funds, low ceilings, but, we are all part of the process. It is not a problem of the MoF, but a problem of the country and the economy,” he explained. Dingie said they do not have unlimited resources to release to MDAs, but they have to put policies and reforms in place that will generate revenues so that they will be able to provide for government services. “From the Audit Report every year it is clear how much resources come into the budget and the Auditor General explains who utilise what and whether they were judiciously used. The resources that do come we release to MDAs and try to address the priority arrears as they do arise,” he said.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
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