Parliament of Ghana
Parliament on Thursday approved the budget estimates for the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, Employment and Labour Relations, National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and the Office of the Head of Civil Service.
In the 2017 budget, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has been allocated GH¢398,676,632 as compared to GH¢300,893,182 in 2016.
The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation was given GH¢374,152,142 as compared to GH¢274,215,153 allocated to the same ministry under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in 2016.
The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations was assigned GH¢60,708,072 for its activities in the 2017 fiscal year.
The NDPC was allocated GH¢10,330,099 while the Office of the Head of Civil Service was allocated GH¢12,145,580.
Approving the budget for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, expressed worry that the Ministry of Finance had asked her outfit to use just over 30 percent of its Internally Generated Funds (IGF).
This year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has projected to collect GH¢149.8 million as its IGF made up of issuance of visa, which is to fetch GH¢85.4 million, issuance of passports for Ghanaians, which is to fetch the ministry GH¢31.6 million, authentication services, which is to fetch GH¢31.8 million, as well as refunds which will total GH¢1.2 million.
Out of the total of GH¢149.9 million, the Ministry of Finance, has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to retain just about GH¢51.6 million in sharp contrast to the power given to the Ministry under the previous regime to retain 100% of its IGF.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs said her outfit is already cash-strapped and that the decision by the Ministry of Finance would further worsen its financial plight and seriously affect its ability to carry out programmes in full.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, on his part, said the work of the ministry is very important and therefore the government must commit itself to resourcing the Ministry very well to enable it play its vital role in leading the technological advancement and transformation of the country.
Members of Parliament (MPs) from both sides, including the ranking member on Environment, Science, Technology Committee of parliament, Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi, said scientific research is very expensive and so there was the need for the government to properly resource the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) well to enable its 13 research institutions to undertake more research for the progress of the country.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr