The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has said that the legislature cannot afford to be unconcerned over government spending.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day 2022 post-budget workshop in Ho in the Volta region, he said the House must increase its monitoring of government expenditure.
“We must increase our monitoring of government expenditure to ensure value for money for the people of this country. It calls for analysis of the fiscal impact of policies and laws arising from the budget.
“The pace at which government programmes and policies are implemented and the expenditure rollout needs monitoring. Parliament must ensure that the interventions in the budget are implemented as intended,” he stated.
He said Parliament must also ensure that approved laws and policies benefit citizens in the way that they were intended to.
Fixing economic challenge
He encouraged Members of Parliament to commit to fixing the economic turbulence.
“If there was any time in the history of this country that Ghanaians are looking up to the Legislature – not the Executive – for solutions to the challenges confronting us as a people, it is now. That is why we must, for now, consign partisanship to the background and bring our nationalism to the fore in the decisions that we take and the issues we support.
“We have a fine opportunity to assert the independence and relevance of parliament in the governance of this country. Else, posterity will remember us as the crop of legislators who sacrificed Ghana on the altar of partisanship,” he said.
The Speaker also expressed hope that the IMF engagement would bring relief to Ghanaians.
He said the house was, however, yet to be briefed on the status of the engagements so far.
“We have been courting the IMF for some time now, and it is the hope of every Ghanaian today that the overtures to the IMF will bring some relief to Ghanaians.
“The IMF negotiations should not continue to look like a suitor pursuing an unresponsive suitress. For now, that is how Ghanaians feel because we are in the dark so far as progress on the negotiations is concerned,” he noted.
Also speaking at the workshop, Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu indicated that the workshop would be a useful platform that would deepen the understanding of issues to be discussed and assist MPs to evaluate, review and critique the national budget and make constructive recommendations.
He also commended the Ministry of Finance for engaging some committees of parliament and briefing them about the engagement with IMF and the path that the nation was threading.
“I hope and pray that from now on, it becomes part of the partnership that the parliament will be forming with the ministry of finance, executive in the crafting of budget so that at the very outset, we will be able to reconcile policies contained in the constitution and indeed other vital documents,” he stated.
For his part, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu also pointed out that parliament had a duty to reflect the aspirations of the Ghanaian people, Ghanaian businesses and to take decisions that assures them “that we care about them.”
He therefore urged parliament to help government “walk out of the crisis” the country was facing, stressing that the finance minister was candid when he presented the 2023 budget last Thursday by conceding that assertion.
According to him, the 2023 budget is replete with the fact that government was broke and an economy that needs resuscitation, adding that some of the measures may provide the relief that the economy needs, whiles some may exacerbate them.