General News of Friday, 22 December 2017
The Minority in Parliament has questioned government’s allocation of some 100 million Ghana cedis as capital expenditure for the presidency.
According to the Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, the items to be spent on, including renovation of the Flagstaff House and the Peduase Lodge, aren’t a priority as compared to other pressing needs of the country.
“I do not see the priority so clearly. We live in a country with a government that has promised so much and one would have thought that because they promised so much there would be that focus, but I am not seeing that.
It is the expenditure that will give me some direction on where the country is going, but unfortunately the direction is consumption. The direction is not something that will drive the growth that we need.
“In the 2018 budget, we have been told the office of the President alone is spending 272 million Ghana cedis on goods and services , of which the office of the Chief of Staff alone is spending 172 million out of the 270 million.
They are saying out of that, they are spending 100 million cedi for capital expenditure of which they are going to use part of it to renovate Peduase Lodge and Flagstaff House and some other lodges too. You will not understand it until you put it in context,” Mr. Ato Forson said.
He further indicated in a statement that “within the space of 9 months, the office of the President spent a total of about 76 million cedis on goods and services” adding that “69 million cedis of this amount was spent at the office of the Chief of Staff, and 4 million new cedis at the Vice President’s Secretariat.”
Mr. Forson believes “the immediate effect of the wasteful expenditure at the presidency is that, key growth sectors are denied resources to spur economic growth and development.”
But the Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in response said the Minority’s claim is misleading.
“That is not true, and often our argument is that, when these issues are raised, the devil is always in the detail. If you go to the government machinery, it has 22 different agencies under it. From the GIPC to Masloc to all of them, 22 of them.
The view was that the 100 million Ghana cedi CAPEX budget and this is the view that was brought to us from the Executive here in Parliament that it is all lumped together and it sits at the office of government machinery and the office of government machinery will do the allocation to the 22 different agencies. It is not true that GHC 100 million will be used to rehabilitate Peduase Lodge.
If you read the budget carefully, it says the various agencies under the office of government machinery are all going to tap into that capital expenditure budget, for their various CAPEX functions.
Parliament rejects GH¢6m budget for Senior Minister’s office
Mr. Forson’s concerns come days after budgetary allocation for the Senior Minister’s office was rejected in Parliament.
The Minority, which the led the motion, had said the office was not a legal creation and therefore could not be allocated any funds from the national budget.
Leading the charge for the rejection was Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu who argued that the Senior Minister’s office is expected to coordinate the activities of other Ministries, Departments and Agencies and thus cannot be treated as a separate Ministry without legal backing.
“It is either the President has not done that which is legally appropriate because I am holding with me the Executive Instrument (EI 28) Civil Service Ministry Statement 2017, signed by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana which creates the various Ministries and conspicuously lost in this list, is office of the Senior Minister so it means that the portfolio of Senior Minister is only being held morally , but legally he [President Nana Addo] has no locus and if the President must do what is legally appropriate to create the office by the Executive Instrument unless a different instrument is issued to that effect,” Mr. Iddrisu argued on the floor of Parliament.