Projects on Office of President too many, dangerous – Minority

The Minority in Parliament is raising red flags over what it says is an overload of projects at the office of the president for the 2017 financial year, a situation it describes as dangerous.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) say plans by the president’s office to directly supply farming inputs to farmers and undertake sanitation programmes are unnecessary.

Parliament on Monday approved a budget of GHC1.56 billion for the office of government machinery for 2017, an amount the Minority describes as exorbitant.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has justified his decision to create six new ministries, explaining they would help in the efficient implementation of his government’s policies.

The new ministries include Special Development Initiatives Ministry, Planning Ministry, Inner City and Zongo Development Ministry and Business Development Ministry. These ministries have specific tasks to perform and will depend on the budget of the Office of President for their operations.

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Casiel Ato Forson, told the media the dependence of the new ministries on the budget of the Office of the Presidency will hamper the effective implementation of government’s many “ambitious” projects.

“There is the Ministry of Agric and the President is sending money to the Chief of Staff for the purposes of Agric inputs,” he said questioning the purpose of the Agric Ministry. 

He further questioned if the Chief of Staff’s office has the requisite knowledge in Agric to procure Agricultural input required by the country.

According to the MP for Ajumako Enyan Essiam, the Minority is baffled that government’s flagship projects like the one-village one-dam and Water For All should be handled by the Chief of Staff’s office and not the Water Resources and Sanitation Ministry. 

He said although the Ministry was allotted GHC25 million for 2017, a project under the Chief of Staff’s office is worth GH44 million, far bigger than the Ministry’s. 

“You created the ministry, but you are depriving them of the resources to work,” Mr Forson lamented. 

He explained the Minority is saddened that an amount of GHC132 million was allocated to the Chief of Staff’s office, which is more than the GHC1.7 million allocated to the parliament of Ghana.

Mr. Forson claims the budget estimates approved by Parliament Monday shows that government has broken its promise to allocate $1 million to each constituency to help facilitate development.

“Ken Ofori-Atta was very emphatic when he was reading the budget that they [government] were going to start certain infrastructural projects.

“But what we have seen particularly, at the estimates is simply that they have allocated GHC992 million which they say is an equivalent to $1 million for each constituency,” he said.

He argues that even if one takes the end period exchange rate of GH4.181 multiplied by $275 million it does add up to GH992 million but rather an amount in the of GH1.2 billion.

The House is meanwhile sitting late into the evening to approve budget estimates for various ministries.

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