Parliament approves 2021 Appropriation Bill

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman

Parliament on Tuesday night approved the Appropriation Bill, 2021.

This enables a sum of money not exceeding GH¢129 billion to be issued from the Consolidated Fund and for the withdrawal from other funds for the purposes of financing government operations during the financial year commencing January 1, 2020 to the ending of December 31, 2021.

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The specific purposes for which the sum shall be appropriated comprised of compensation of public sector employees (GH₵30.3 billion), use of goods and services (GH₵5.7 billion), interest payments (GH₵35.7 billion), subsidies (GH₵247.7 million), grants to other government units (GH₵18 billion) and social benefits (GH165 million).

The others are other expenditure (GH₵7.9 billion), capital expenditure (GH₵11.5 billion), arrears (GH₵3.7 billion) and amortization (GH₵15.2 billion).

COVID-19 related expenditure

A total of GH₵4.5 billion had been earmarked for COVID-19 related expenditures. The breakdown of the expenditure is GH₵200 million for COVID-19 Alleviation Programme (water and electricity), GH₵1.5 billion for the provision of health infrastructure, GH₵597.6 million for National COVID-19 response, GH₵306 million as seed fund for capitalization of Development Bank, GH₵1 billion for economic revitalisation payment and GH₵929 million for COVID-19 vaccines (operational and procurement)

All these estimated expenditures are geared towards efficiently and effectively carrying out the services of the government for the 2021 financial year.

The approval came after the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, had submitted the committee’s report on the Bill and recommended that the sum of money not exceeding GH129 billion be approved and authorized to be issued from the Consolidated Fund and for the withdrawal from other funds to finance government operations during the financial year from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.

Other govt obligations

He told the House that the committee observed that ministries, departments and agencies shall be permitted to retain and use an amount of GH₵5.9 billion of internally-generated funds during the 2021 financial year.

He said out of the total amount of GH₵129 billion estimated expenditure in 2021, the committee noted that GH₵80.7 billion would constitute payment of other government obligations while the rest would cover discretionary payments.

GH₵45.5m for constituency offices

Prior to the approval of the Appropriation Bill, the House also approved GH₵45.5 million for the construction of 70 constituency offices for 70 Members of Parliament this year.

The approval is targeted at constructing 70 constituency offices per year over a four-year period.

Other approvals

Earlier, the House approved a number of budget estimate for the various ministries, departments and agencies for the for the implementation of some of the programmes of the Parliament for the 2021 financial year.

They included the approval of the sum of GH₵523.6 million for Parliament, GH₵854,062,706 for the Energy Ministry and GH₵ 2,102,103,946 for the Defence Ministry.