Parliament of Ghana
Parliament will be doing a number of businesses this week before it rises by the end of the week as it vets nominees for ministerial and deputy ministerial positions and at the same time consider budgetary estimates for the ministries, departments and agencies.
Vetting of the extra four ministers of state-designate and 50 deputy ministers-designate will begin today with the appearance of Sarah Adwoa Safo (MP for Dome/Kwabenya) before the Appointments Committee as Minister of State-designate at the Office of the President in-charge of Public Procurement; Bryan Acheampong (MP for Abetifi), Minister of State-designate at the Office of the President; Prof Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State-designate at the Ministry of Education in-charge of Tertiary Education and Dr Nura Gyeile, Minister of State-designate at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The deputy ministers-designate will start appearing before the Committee tomorrow and those who will be involved are Kwaku Kwarteng (MP for Obuasi West), Finance; Abena Osei-Asare (MP for Atiwa East), Finance; Charles Adu Boahen, Finance: Joseph Cudjoe (MP for Effia), Energy and Dr Mohammed Amin Anta, Energy.
On Wednesday, March 29, the following deputy ministers-designate will be vetted: William Owuraku Aidoo (MP for Afigya Kwabre South), Energy; Joseph Dinkiok Kpemka (MP for Tempane), Attorney-General; Godfred Dame, Attorney-General; Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi (MP for Ejisu), Roads and Highways and Patricia Appiagyei (MP for Asokwa), Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations..
On Thursday, March 30, O.B. Amoah (MP for Akwapim South), will appear as deputy minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development; Nii Kwartei Titus Glover (MP for Tema East), Transport; Barbara Asher Ayisi (MP for Cape Coast North) Education; Anthony Karbo (MP for Lawra), Roads and Highways and Michael Gyato (MP for Krachi East), Water Resources and Sanitation.
The vetting will then be suspended as the House takes a break till the first week in May.
During sitting on Friday, March 24, a number of estimates for the ministries were considered and approved by the House. Prominent among them were the Ministry of Interior which was allocated a budget of GH¢1.57 billion for the 2017 fiscal year as against GH¢1.46 billion approved for 2016 by the immediate-past government. The Ministry of Defence was allocated GH¢821.7 million for 2017 as against GH¢887.1 million approved for the same ministry in 2016 by the last government. The Ministry of Energy was allocated GH¢887.7 million for 2017 as against GH¢1.1 billion in 2016.
The Ministry of Roads and Transport was given an amount of GH¢871.for 2017 as against GH¢624.6 million, which eventually ballooned to GH¢843 million at the end of the 2016 fiscal year.
Out of the amount allocated to the Ministry of Roads and Transport, GH¢408.8 million would be used for management and administration, GH¢300.2 million for the construction of roads and bridges, GH¢151.7 million for road rehabilitation and maintenance and GH¢10.5 million for road safety and environment.
Members of Parliament argued that the Ministry of Roads and Highways is very crucial because of the number of bad roads in the country and urged the government to find more money for it to rehabilitate them.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member for Manhyia North, Collins Owusu-Amankwah, praised President Akufo-Addo for realising the importance of the road sector to the socio-economic development of the country by topping up the budget of the Ministry for 2017, but said looking at the huge task and demand in the road sector, the money allocated to the ministry could still be inadequate.
A number of budgetary estimates for some key sectors such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Food and Agriculture are yet to be considered and approved by parliament.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr