Budget 2017 Allocating GHc 1.5 to presidency is worrying - Okudzeto Ablakwa

The Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has said the money earmarked for the use of the government machinery would be to the detriment of other key sectors of the economy that need only a fraction of that amount.

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The Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has said that a GHS1.5billion budgetary allocation to the Office of the President for its expenses in 2017 is “unacceptable and worrying”.

He said this on the floor of Parliament when he contributed to the debate on the budget statement presented by the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta.

He said the money earmarked for the use of the government machinery would be to the detriment of other key sectors of the economy that need only a fraction of that amount.

READ ALSO: I have never seen a problem solving budget like this – Osafo Marfo

Ablakwa noted that the money for the Office of the President was far in excess of 100 per cent of what was previously allocated.

“A whopping allocation of about GHS1.5billion, the highest ever in the history of this country, has been made to the office of government machinery and Mr Speaker, I’ve done full analysis on this and the point I’m making is that, [it is] an unprecedented allocation, an elephantine allocation, a gigantic allocation in excess of GHS1.5billion has been made to the office of government machinery while all these cuts are taking place. Mr Speaker, to put this in perspective, in 2012 the office of government machinery was allocated only GHS236million, in 2013 it was only GHS312million, in 2014 it was only GHS326million, in 2015 it was only GHS453million. Mr Speaker, if you combine all those years you will get just about GHS1.3billion. It doesn’t come up to the GHS1.5billion that has been allocated to the office of government machinery. This is unacceptable [and] this is worrying.”

But responding to Ablakwa’s statement the Member of Parliament for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo Markin justified the allocation saying the money will go a long way to help the Nana Akufo-Addo-led government realise most of the promises it made in the build-up to the 2016 polls.

READ ALSO: NDC is terrified after budget reading – Akoto Osei

“Mr Speaker, it has been argued with much force that the figure is so high and very unprecedented, but if you pick that to argue, you will get it wrong.”

“Mr Speaker, in this budget the government is making room for this initiative of One-District-One-Factory and that is being captured in the office of government machinery. Mr Speaker, if you come to small business development, it is also there. Mr Speaker, if you look at Zongo Development Fund, it is also there. Mr Speaker, unlike the previous administration where no such provisions were made, [these initiatives] are there. So it’s not as if somebody is going to spend it on anything. These are initiatives that are going to benefit Ghanaians, so the facts must be known. These are monies that are going to be spent to alleviate poverty so that Ghanaians will benefit. Mr Speaker, these are the accurate facts.”

Meanwhile, the key policy initiatives of President Akufo-Addo which includes the much talked about free Senior High School (SHS) among others, will cost the country over GHc2 billion.

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