The Heritage Fund should be utilised as a creditor to areas of the economy where there are opportunities for growth and profitability.
Mr David Selorm Adikah, the Business Development Manager of Liberty Assets Management Limited, who made the suggestion, on Thursday, said Ghana would make a grave mistake should it make the Fund idle with the intention of preserving it for future generations, rather than putting it to profitable use in areas that held promise for the economy.
For instance, he said, the monies could be loaned to players in the Agricultural sector to ensure profitable growth of the sector while providing jobs.
Mr Adikah said these in an interview with the Ghana News Agency following an Inter-Departmental Debate by students of the Central University on the topic: “This House will Support the use of the Heritage Fund to Finance the Free SHS”.
The Heritage Fund is a strategic endowment reserve, established to support development for future generations when Ghana’s petroleum reserves have been depleted.
The Fund receives nine per cent of the country’s annual petroleum revenue.
The Accounting Department emerged winners of the debate, held at the University’s Mitseo Campus, near Prampram, in the Greater Accra Region.
It was organised by the Central University Accounting Students’ Association in collaboration with the Socrates Club, and sponsored by Liberty Assets Management Limited.
The contest, which was to provide the students the platform to express their views on the topical issue of national interest, also featured the Management, Law and Marketing Departments.
Fafali Awo Ekey and Alhassan Mariah, who represented the Accounting Department, argued that there would be no funds available when the oil resources were depleted, therefore, the Heritage Fund must be invested to maximise the opportunities in the agricultural and energy sector to grow the economy.
It should also be utilised to support industrialisation to boost productivity and national prosperity.
“The raw materials from the Agricultural fields should be converted to processed goods, which have more value to attract more revenue for the country and also boost the energy sector,” they opined.
“For instance, Ghana produces a lot of cocoa and majority is exported with just a minimum used for chocolate here. It will be of more benefit if we manufacture varieties of the ‘Kings Bite chocolate’ to suit consumers’ tastes to make more revenue, instead of importing chocolates from other countries, which are rather making the money from our raw materials.”
On funding the Frees SHS agenda, the winners who spoke against the motion, said the Government could use other resources, including the GET Fund and long-term loans, in addition to collaborating with other stakeholders in the educational sector, to achieve its aim.
They scored 64.7 per cent to carry the day; and as part of their prizes, received a GH¢1000.00 in Investment Account with the Liberty Assets Management Limited plus certificates.
The Management Department, which placed second with 51 per cent, received GH¢500.00 in Investment Account and certificates.
The Law Department was third with 41.9 per cent, and got GH¢200 in Investment Account and certificates; whilst the Marketing Department came fourth with 37.6 per cent, and got similar prizes as their forerunner.
The competition, which lasted for nearly two hours, was described by many in the audience as “impressive” and “thought-provoking”
One student said: “This is a great step to encourage discussions that are constructive, useful, and meaningful to promote awareness on complex national issues and must be encouraged.
Mr Michael-Sam Junior, a National Debate Trainer, who was an Adjudicator, commended and advised the participants to note that ‘as debaters’ arguments should be content-based in order to deliver effectively.