Budgetary allocation to Interior Ministry woefully inadequate – Defence Committee

Parliament’s Defence and Interior Committee has described as woefully inadequate, allocations made to the Ministry of Interior in the 2017 budget.

The committee is thus asking government to review the amount and increase the allocation.

The house on Friday approved the allocation of GH1.571 billion to the Interior Ministry for the financial year ending December, 31 2017.

Chairman of the committee Major Derrick Oduro (Rtd) told the house: “the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Interior, unfortunately, remains woefully inadequate.

“If Ghana is to continue to enjoy accelerated economic development and growth, it is important that premium is placed on the protection of human life and property,” he said on the floor of parliament as the house approved the budget.

Various security agencies including the police, immigration service and prison services fall under the Ministry of Interior.

“It is imperative that the budgetary allocation is reviewed with the urgency that it deserves to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the ministry and its agencies,” he added.

Major Oduro, however, did not state how much more should be added to ensure effective work at the ministry. It should also be noted that the approval represents an increase in the GH1.3 billion approved for the ministry in 2016.

He also expressed concern about the inability of government to pay rent for personnel of the security forces, resulting in threats to eject some of them.

The house has approved a budget of GH821 million for the Ministry of Defence for the 2017 fiscal year. The committee demanded that government to as a matter of urgency releases funds to defray the outstanding bills of the ministry that has hit GH250 million.

Parliament is additionally calling for increased funding to the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs. The house approved a budget of GH34 million for the ministry, one of the lowest allocations to ministries in the budget.

MP for Keta Ricahrd Quarshigah says the ministry needs more money to resolve religious and chieftaincy conflicts across the country, compared to when it was previously focused it focused only on chieftaincy.

“The re-aligned Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs is a very serious ministry because its activities will impact on the social nerve of our society, the reason for which I will even imagine that the GH34 million allocated to it is not enough,” Mr. Quarshigah said.  

He is also championing that the National Hajj Board is moved to the new ministry from the Office of the President.

“It will no longer be resolving chieftaincy disputes alone, but issues that we have within Christianity as well as Islam, the reason for which I would even imagine that the Hajj Board will now be a subset of this ministry,” Mr. Quarshigah added.

He observed that provisions made in the budget for the ministry was heavily skewed towards issues of chieftaincy whilst neglecting the religious issues.

“The issues the ministry’s budget attempts to cover are all chieftaincy related. Are there no plans to resolve disputes between traditional authorities and churches during the times when bans are placed on dancing and drumming, where both sides refuse to agree lead to chaos?” he quizzed.