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General News of Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Source: Daily Guide

Terkper dodges EC budget

The Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, whether intentionally or not, did not answer a question by a journalist on how much the Electoral Commission (EC) had budgeted for the 2016 general elections and whether it made any provision for a possible run-off and how much that would also cost the nation.

The questions cropped up yesterday during a day’s workshop organised by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for members of the Institute of Financial Economic Journalists (IFEJ) and the Parliamentary Press Corp on this year’s budget.

During questions and answers segment of the media interaction, the journalist also asked the minister whether the EC made any budget request for the compilation of a new voter register, but the minister of finance, whether through genuine oversight, left out the probing questions.

According to Mr Terkper, the ministry of finance was waiting for the report of the special committee set up to look into the subject of a possible new voter register and if a recommendation was made to that effect, the ministry was very much prepared to finance the compilation of a new voter register because of the important linkage between free, fair and credible elections and a vibrant economy in any democratic country.

He said development partners might also come in to help if there was the need for a new register.

The minister told the journalists that the ministry attaches great importance to free and fair elections and therefore started making preparations towards that possible exercise long ago so that the conduct of next year’s general elections would be smooth without any hitches.

He explained that the ministry had also been collaborating with parliament as to how next year’s general elections will be conducted successfully.

“We are very much prepared for the elections next year and the ministry will find every money for the EC to conduct next year’s general elections since it is an important statutory allocation for the nation to continue to enjoy the peace it has and also for economic development,” he added.

The director of budget, Patrick Nimoh, in his presentation, said the total expenditure for next year’s budget is GH¢43.5 billion as against total revenue of GH¢38.08 billion, leaving a deficit of over GH¢5 billion which would be financed by development partners as well as local agencies.