Business General

Akufo-Addo increases Parliament’s budget after Bagbin threat

President Nana Akufo-Addo has increased the budgetary allocation of Parliament following a complaint by Speaker Alban Bagbin.

Mr Bagbin has expressed qualms about the earlier capping of the budget for the legislature and judiciary in the 2021 budget.

Mr Bagbin had threatened that if the Executive failed to review the allocations, the House was not going to approve the 2021 budget and economic statement presented on Friday, 12 March.

While the allocation for the Judiciary was slashed by some GHS70 million, that of the Legislature was reduced by GHS190 million.

“Respectfully, I’m unable to accept such reduction,” the Speaker said in Parliament on Tuesday, 16 March.

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

“It’s not for the Executive to impose [a] ceiling on the Judiciary or Parliament. We’ve to do the right thing,” Mr Bagbin insisted.

He said: “So far as I remain the Speaker of this House, I’ll insist that the right thing is done” and threatened not to forward the appropriation bill to the President for his assent when passed if “the right thing is not done.”

“And, so, during the considerations of the [budget] estimate, particularly the committees concerned, take that on board and at the end of the day, come and explain to us the negotiated figure and not the ceiling that has been given by the president. That is not the [intent] of the 1992 Constitution”.

“If you do otherwise, I, as your Speaker, will not affirm any letter for submission to the President for his assent, I mean what I am saying.”

A response from the Presidency to Parliament read by the Speaker on Wednesday, 24 March 2021, said GHS523 million has now been approved for Parliament as against a request of GHS533 million.

Mr Bagbin read the response thus: “The government recommends that Parliament and the parliamentary service operates within the proposed budget above while government explores opportunity to increase the allocation in subsequent budgets when revenue improves and debt has stabilised”.

“Accordingly, Parliament is respectfully requested to keep the estimates of Parliament and the parliamentary service within the expenditure proposed above to enable the government to contain expenditures within the overall fiscal space for 2021.”

Mr Bagbin added: “I am drawing the attention of the Special Budgets Committee to the new recommendation and to urge the committee to consider the budget estimates for Parliament and the parliamentary service along those lines”.

Source: ClassFMonline.com

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