$40m World Bank loan is for free SHS not sanitary pads – Majority Leader

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Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has dismissed claims that a 40-million dollar loan facility by the World Bank to the education sector is for the continuation of the ‘Sanitary Pad’ programme to school going girls, started by the erstwhile Mahama government.

Speaking in an interview on Peace FM‘s “Kokrokoo“, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu exposed the falsehood being peddled by the Minority in Parliament saying the financial support by World Bank is to improve quality education in the country.

According to him, the $40 million is to facilitate the government’s free SHS policy and ensure that the beneficiaries of the programme obtain quality materials to ease and resolve any challenges.

He further recounted that the facility includes provision of text books, exercise books and other vital education elements.

The issue of sanitary pad came to the floor of Parliament when the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa pointed out the hypocrisy of the Majority in Parliament who demonized and ridiculed the provision of sanitary pads for school going girls from deprived areas under a $156 million World-Bank financed Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP) in 2014.

The wrongly-tagged ‘Sanitary Pad loan’ was a World Bank facility meant to improve service delivery and infrastructure under the Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP). The NDC (when in government and later in opposition), claimed the programme has had the distinction of delivering 10,400 full Scholarships in which 60% of beneficiaries were females; the construction of 23 Community Senior High Schools, Facilities Improvement and Quality Upgrade in 125 SHSs, as well as Math, Science and ICT training for over 6,000 teachers, among others.

Indeed, according to the Honurable Okudzeto Ablakwah, “the SEIP has been hailed by the World Bank as one of the most successful projects it has helped fund in Africa for which same has been replicated in other countries. For this reason, the World Bank has decided to reward the current NPP Government with an additional funding of US$40 million.”

He therefore wondered how the Majority – then Minority in Parliament – could today, hail the same project that they were opposed to three years ago.

But Hon. Kyei Mensah Bonsu explained to host Kwami Sefa Kayi on “Kokrokoo” show that the World Bank was motivated to pump money into the project because the government paid attentive ears to the needs of the beneficiaries.

He noted that the project has become attractive to the World Bank specifically because the government has removed the provision of sanitary pad from it.

We said whatever will help improve quality education is good but we don’t support the sanitary pad idea. That was our judgement. The government listened to what the people said and removed the sanitary pad issue. So, the World Bank then brought in their money. They supported because we did that…So, the sanitary pad is no longer part of the loan grant“, he said.

Meanwhile, Parliament has approved the 40 million dollars from World Bank, and according to the Education Ministry; it will as well help in expanding infrastructure in 75 Senior High Schools.

This will also increase the chances of many more students to access quality education in the country.

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ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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