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BAN demands focus of budget on basic education

Budget Advocacy Network, (BAN) a civil society organization committed to work on government budget and its related issues to enhance pro-poor policies and programme, is demanding that the focus of the education sector budget for 2012 should be on Basic Education.
Speaking in a press briefing at Campaign for Good Governance office, BAN Coordinator, Abubakarr Kamara, said Parliament on November 25, 2011 read the National Budget presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development which the network studied carefully and came up with observation and recommendations.
According to the budget, in 2012, the education sector budget rose from Le 112.1 billion in 2011 to Le 138.9 billion for which BAN commended government for the increase of 23.9 percent budgetary allocation to the education budget for 2012.
BAN is advocating that to achieve education for all, they believe the budget should focus more on basic education.
Abubakarr Kamara said basic education lays the education foundation for every pupil and so more money should be poured so that it will be strengthened.
He said special provision should be made in the budget to increase enrolment, quality and retention of children in schools and therefore called on government and the Ministry of Education to provide benchmarks in the budget regarding the status of achieving education for all targets.
BAN further advocated that government must double up its efforts including increasing expenditure to the health sector.
The allocation to the health sector excluding salaries and wages in 2011 was Le 118.9 billion whilst in 2012 it is Le 110.7 billion.
BAN states that the projected inflation of 8 percent, the 2012 allocation to the health budget declined by 14 percent in real terms.
The Network is very much concerned about such reduction considering the numerous challenges facing the Free Health Care and the health sector in general.
Kamara said if Sierra Leone is to achieve the Millennium Development Goal by 2015, the government must look in again into the budget.
Concluding, Kamara said its network sees the budget as an important tool for development and there is the need for all stakeholders to work together to ensure effective budget implementation.
By Emmanuella Kallon

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