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General News of Sunday, 23 December 2018


Parliament grudgingly approves its budget allocation

Parliament has approved its budget allocation of GHC268.267 million year 2019 and this was done grudgingly.

The House had submitted an estimated budget of GHC425.666 million but the figure was slashed.

Before taking the vote on the report to approve the allocation, the Speaker, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, added his voice to the expression of the displeasure by the Members over the reduction of the requested amount.

He directed the Clerk to formally communicate to the Office of the President that the House’s approval was on condition that there would be a full written assurance by the Finance Ministry to restore the difference of GHC157.398 million, by the middle of next year.

A report by its special budget committee said the cut in the financial requirement was going to affect the implementation of critical activities aimed at strengthening operational efficiency and independence of the legislature.

“The insufficient allocation will also affect Parliamentary oversight functions and negatively impact the ability of Parliament to meet statutory obligations.”

The House, would additionally, be forced by the reduction in its capital expenditure to roll back the planned commencement of construction works on a new Chamber.

“It will also affect a number of ongoing infrastructure projects including the construction of additional office accommodation for the remaining 23 Members of Parliament (MPs) and key Departments of the Parliamentary Service.”

Besides, it would derail the construction of a holding facility for visitors and drivers of the MPs.

Aside improving on the physical infrastructure, Parliament is currently undergoing reforms to strengthen its capacity to execute its mandate.

It is working on an e-Parliament Project, to provide ICT backbone support to support ICT architecture, to facilitate the automation of parliamentary business and administrative processes.