Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Increase Price of Beer To Finance Education -GES Director

Alhaji Mohammed Haroon

The Northern Regional Director of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Alhaji Mohammed Haroon “Cambodia” has suggested to government to impose at least One Ghana Cedi (GHC1.00) Levy on every bottle of beer consumed to generate more revenue for the development of education in the underdeveloped regions of Ghana. 

According to Alhaji Cambodia, it is estimated that Ghanaians consume over 80 million bottles of beer annually, and the nation could utilize the high patronage of it to finance the education sector. 

Speaking at a Regional Consultative Forum organised by the Northern Network for Education Development (NNED) and funded by Ibis Ghana, the Education Director said “If people consume 80 million bottles of beer in Ghana in just a year we can put just one Ghana cedi on the price, and then use it to finance education, because the education sector lacks resources and there are still high deficit in infrastructure, furniture, teaching and learning materials. “We still have several pupils studying under trees especially in the three regions of the north”.

He indicated that there was a complete overhaul of the demand for education and that the interest of people to access formal education had become high. However, provision of adequate and standardized school infrastructure had become a major challenge to governments over the years, due to lack of funds. 

Alhaji Cambodia said that enrollment figures at the basic, senior high and at the tertiary levels had increased tremendously, which required that more infrastructure, accommodation and other materials necessary for the promotion of quality education were provided.  

The Northern Region Education Director lamented that apart from the inadequate dormitories, classrooms and hostel facilities for students at the various levels, there was also the lack of decent accommodation for tutors across the country and most especially the three regions of the north. 

Alhaji Cambodia, who also added his voice to the call for bigger portion of Ghana’s Oil Revenue to support the development of education in the deprived regions in Ghana, placed a high demand for the One Ghana Cedi levy to be placed on every bottle of beer consumed to finance education. 

Meanwhile, as at 2004 Ghanaians consumed a total of about 80 million bottles of beer and over 156 million bottles of stout, according to players in the Beer Industry. Given that the population of Ghana was 20 million by then, it means that statistically, every person—old, young, male, female—drank at least four bottles of beer and about eight bottles of stout.

The records, as provided by the beer industry in Ghana indicated that in 2004, Ghanaians quaffed 13,722,876 bottles of Club Beer, 52,480,476 bottles of Star Beer, 11,698,080 bottles of Gulder and 2,069,436 bottles of ABC.

And for stout, Ghanaians got through 41,898,084 bottles of Castle Milk Stout, 110,993,328 bottles of Guinness and 3,226,605 bottles of Guinness Extra Smooth. In Ghana, the pattern of beer consumption, according to industry sources, fall under two broad categories. Beer is drank by people whose habit it is to drink at least one bottle every day.

These are people who say, they are winding down after a hard day's work. They may drink at home or at a drinking bar on their way home from work. Matthew, a graphic designer, says he has no specific reason for drinking beer. “I drink beer for the fun of it. It has become part of me so I always down a bottle or two after work and I enjoy doing it. After a hard day's work it is only fair to cool down with chilled beer.”

In the second category, beer is drank during events such as funerals, meetings, launches, parties and such social gatherings. Annually, the world consumes over 100 billion litres of beer. Reports show that this value is on the rise due to an increased amount of under-aged drinkers and an increasing variety of beers.

This alcohol intake has been known to contribute to the high rate of death through accidents by drunk drivers. Women also cause their babies to be born with birth defects by drinking without caution during the gestation period. Even though beer only contains around 5% alcohol, it still takes its effects on a developing foetus.

Of all the carbonated beverages people enjoy drinking today beer is the oldest and most familiar. Its ingredients-water, barley, yeast, grains and hops, bear no resemblance to the finished product. Its alcoholic content comes from the process of fermentation, which converts the simple sugars (carbohydrates) in the grains and barley into alcohol.

Beer has likely been a part of society since human civilisation first arose. The bubbly, frothy and nose-tickling drink has been brewed for thousands of years. The most primitive beers were brewed in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and China.

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