Business News of Monday, 18 December 2017
Parliament Monday rejected the GH¢6.0 million 2018 budget estimate for the Office of the Senior Minister for its planned programmes and policies.
The rejection of the budget estimate followed submissions by the legislators that the office was not a legal creation and therefore could not be allocated any funds from the national budget.
The Office of the Senior Minister was one of the ministries created by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo upon assuming office in January, 2017.
Case for rejection
The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, who led the onslaught, said the Office of Senior Minister was not a stand-alone ministry as it was supposed to coordinate the activities of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“We need evidence that the President acted appropriately and legally, creating it by executive instrument which he is required to do”, he said.
He said the role of the office is to coordinate activities of other Ministries and Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and could not be treated as a ministry without legal backing.
“As far as we are concerned, his office is not a legal creation and that is not accepted per the laws of the country,” he said.
Supporting that position, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the Office ought to be placed under the Office of Government Machinery to ensure proper accountability.
“To me, it is perfectly in order except as I have observed, it should be placed under the Office of Government Machinery. And within that basket, it should be possible for us as a House to oversee how much has been allocated to the office”, he said.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said Parliament could not approve the estimate “because it does not come under any Executive Instrument (EI), voting for this may be difficult.”
The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, said Standing Order 82 gave the Majority Leader the leave to withdraw the estimate.
Standing Order 82 reads: “A Member who has proposed a motion may withdraw it, but if the motion has been seconded he may do so only by leave of the House.”