Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, who is the Education Minister has quashed reports suggesting that children whose guardians do not have a Tax Identification Number (TIN) will not benefit from Free SHS.
Ken Ofori Atta, who is the Finance Minister during the 2019 budget reading said “the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 lists many services and transactions that cannot be accessed by individuals without TIN. Unfortunately, compliance with these requirements has been low.”
“In 2019, we will begin to apply sanctions to state and private entities that fail to enforce these TIN requirements. Additionally, the government, in providing social services and benefits provided by the state, will require beneficiaries or their guardians to have a TIN. These will complement the current efforts by the GRA to get more persons and businesses on their radar.”
The Director of the Revenue Division at the Finance Ministry, Anthony Dzadra, has also subsequently advised parents who do not have the TINs to endeavour to get registered or risk having their children and wards barred from benefiting from the free SHS programme, beginning from the 2019 academic year.
The issue was raised when the Minority Spokesperson on Education, Peter Nortsu Kotoe, during a budget debate, questioned government’s decision to exempt children whose parents did not have the TIN.
This seems not to have gone down well with the Education Minister who moved swiftly to rebuff the claim.
“I cannot sit in this chamber for such palpable falsehood to be spewed out of his mouth,” the Minister said, stopping the MP in his tracks.
“Where in this budget, if not for propaganda sakes, is it stated that if you don’t have TIN you don’t enjoy free SHS? How can you make your own policy and announce it on behalf of Free SHS?” he added.
Joe Osei Owusu, First Deputy Speaker, was not happy with the comment of the MP and cautioned the House to be careful when making reference to comments others have made.
“There is no law in this country, passed by this House, telling us anybody cannot enjoy anything unless they have TIN. People have opinions and they share it and the press picks it. If it becomes law it’ll come to his House.”
“Avoid using people’s comments. That comment is attributed to a Director who has no power to make law. So just focus on what is before us. You can make your commentary outside but in this chamber let’s focus on what is before us,” the 1st Deputy Speaker said.