Minority MPs astonished by GHC1.5bn allocation to Office of The President

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, North Tongue NDC MP

The minority in Parliament has asked government to review the amount of GHC1.56 billion allocated to the Office of the President, describing it as “gigantic and elephantic.”

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs), on the floor of the House Thursday, said the amount might cripple the economy if it is not reconsidered.

The 2017 budget has allocated GHC1.56 billion to the Office of the President for its operations as well as for the provision of goods and services and other capital expenditure.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta who presented the budget last week said the money will also fund the operations of the six (6) new ministries created by the President.

But the NDC MPs say the money is bigger than allocations made to 27 different ministries and the highest in a decade.

Explaining the issue on Joy FM’s Top Story programme, North Tongue NDC MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said the money is inappropriate considering that government has decreased allocations to some statutory funds.

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund), and District Assembly Common Fund, have all experienced a reduction in funds in line with government’s decision to control expenditure.

Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa said he had expected same to be done to the Office of the President.

“I had thought the leader will have been leading by example,” he said.

The former Deputy Education Minister said the allocation is higher than what was allocated to the government machinery the years 2012 to 2015 – which he said amounted to GHC1.3 billion.

Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa described explanation offered for the increment as “unsound.”

“We have to acknowledge that the phenomenon of ministers is not new, it happened in late President John Evans Atta Mills, and former President John Mahama,” he said.

But Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Akoto Osei said the allocation is appropriate considering the number of projects the Office of the President will be spearheading.

He dismissed suggestions that his comparisons were misplaced because the government spent far in excess of the allocations that were made in the years 2012 to 2015.

The Auditor-General’s report cited the presidency for overspending its budget in 2012 and 2014.

The MP said he was simply comparing allocations and not actual expenditure.

**Mpactglobal: Enoch Yeboah

(Myjoyonline contributed to this story)

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