Member of Parliament for Madina Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, Lawyer Francis-Xavier Sosu says he is not satisfied with the response of the Finance Minister designate, Ken Ofori Atta on the 2021 budgetary allocation to the Office of the President.
The Office of Government Machinery has been allocated an amount of GHC136, 212,551.00 in the 2021 budget statement and economic policy of the government for the year ending 31 December, 2021.
The MP explained that, “the Office of Government Machinery was allocated an amount of GHC136, 212,551.00 whilst allocation to the Judiciary was GHC251, 558,302.00 with staff strength of 5133. However in 2021, with staff strength of 1597 representing a 5.84% decrease in staff strength, the office of Government machinery was allocated GHC823, 880,668.00 representing a 504.85% increase in budgetary allocations over one financial year. The Judiciary, with a staff strength of 5538 which represents 7.31% increase, saw an increase in budgetary allocations to GHC284, 504,473 representing a 13.10% increase only.
With respect to the Parliament of Ghana, the increase was from GHC140, 484,382.00 to GHC201, 112,086.00 representing a 43.16% increase in budgetary allocations. This shows a 461.69% difference in allocation between the Office of government machinery and the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana in one year”
However, in response to a question posed by Mr. Sosu, during the public hearing of the Appointments Committee of Parliament on the increment in allocation to the Presidency, Finance Minister designate clarified that, the increment had become necessary following an increase in government activities and related expenditure.
But unsatisfied, The MP stressed that, “considering the scrapping of the newly created Ministries namely Ministry of Special Development Initiatives, Ministry of Procurement, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation, Office of Senior Minister, and Ministry of Business Development by President Akufo Addo. This is even more surprising during a time when the Finance Minister Designate himself is calling for “shared burden” of the pain and hardship imposed by the 2021 budget”
According to him, the “elephant size” allocation of national resources to the Executive to the detriment of the Judiciary and the legislature does not promote effective Separation of Powers as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. The actions of the Executive arm of Government purporting to set ceilings, cut down, and revise budgetary estimates submitted by the Judiciary and the Legislature clearly violates Articles 127 and 179 of the 1992 Constitution referred to above. Government actions also violate Section 15A of the Parliamentary Service Act, 1993 (Act 416)”.
Furthermore, this is despite recent pacification and increase in budgetary allocation to Parliament and the Judiciary by the Presidency by over GHS 190 million and GHS 30 million respectively.
The MP however called for a national dialogue led by a non-partisan Committee of Parliament with Stakeholders from all organs of state including representatives from the Council of State, National House of Chiefs, Civil Society and Professional Groups to discuss a permanent resource allocation to the Judiciary and Legislature which shall not be interfered with by the Executive. It is further proposed that any recommendations from such consultative meetings must be backed by legislation to give effect to the true intent of Separation of Powers as provided for by the 1992 Constitution. This is because independence of organs of state not backed by financial independence is no independence.