Parliament ‘fights’ Ofori-Atta over budgetary allocation to the House

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has hinted of an impasse between Parliament and the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, in relation to budgetary allocation to the legislature.

According to the Speaker, the Minister for Finance strongly disagrees with the request from Parliament for an allocation of 2% of the total revenue of the State to be made to the House.

Last week, the presentation of the 2022 budget statement was delayed for over two hours because of the disagreement.

In shedding light on the issue for the first time at the Post-Budget workshop in the Volta Regional capital Ho, over the weekend, Mr. Bagbin indicated that the allocation was necessary to adequately resource Parliament.

“We proposed the paltry sum of the 2% of the total revenue of the State to be allocated to Parliament next year. The Minister vehemently disagrees with us, but he wants us to approve his budget. It is not a threat, it is just a reminder [to the Finance Minister]. We have been fighting for this for some time now,” Alban Bagbin said.

Earlier this year, Alban Bagbin threatened to stall processes towards the approval of the 2021 budget estimates if the Executive goes ahead with its plans to cap budgetary allocation to the law-making body.

The Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante in a letter to Parliament, informed the House of the Executive’s decision to reduce their budget by over GHS190 million and that of the Judiciary by over GHS70 million.

The letter cited the lack of fiscal space as the reason for the plan.

But according to the Speaker, this is legally wrong and a step towards weakening the oversight duties of Parliament.

The budget is not for the Executive, we have the final power to approve or disapprove and so what the Constitution has done is for them to make recommendations and to negotiate during the deliberations of the budget before the House,” he said.

Bagbin added that, “it is not for the Executive to impose a ceiling on the Judiciary and Parliament, we have to do the proper thing and so during the consideration of the estimates particularly the Committees concerned, take that on board. At the end of the day, come and inform us as to the negotiated figure, not the ceiling that has been given by the President,” he added.

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