General News of Friday, 20 January 2017
The Ministry of Finance has directed the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) to release GH¢70 million to the Electoral Commission (EC) to pay off part of the cost of the December 7, 2016 general election.
The money will assist the EC to defray part of its GH¢293 million indebtedness to election officials and companies that provided services during the December 7 general election.
According to the Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance, Mr Patrick Nomo, the amount was to assist the EC to meet its current commitments with regard to goods and services.
Disclosing the release of the money in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, Mr Nomo said the EC was reminded to ensure compliance with the Public Procurement Act, the Financial Management Act (2016) (Act 921) and all other relevant public financial management laws, rules and regulations in the execution of programmes and operations covered by the amount released.
Mr Nomo said GH¢800 million was released to the EC before the December 7, 2016 general election but the commission, on December 13, 2016, wrote to the ministry that it had overrun its budget by GH¢293 million.
“The plan is to make part payment in January and spread the rest over a period. We will review the election expenditure, but in the meantime, we will release part of the amount to the EC,” he said.
He was, however, silent on the next amount to be released to the EC
Two hundred thousand election officials who were engaged by the EC for the conduct of the December 7 presidential and parliamentary elections were affected by the delay in the release of funds.
Returning officers, presiding officers and ballot paper issuers were affected.
Following the delay in the payment of their allowances, some of the election officials placed calls to threaten the EC, but the government, last Tuesday, gave an assurance that part payment would be made to them this week.