The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, has expressed displeasure about the decision by the Executive to cap the budget allocation for the Legislature and the Judiciary.
He said what was even more unacceptable was the very low ceiling, which he described as “below the belt”.
As the two arms of government mandated to provide checks and balances on the Executive, he proposed that Parliament and the Judiciary be given particular attention since they were not sectors of the economy.
“These are arms of government and we are not going to take any budget that is like a ministry’s budget. That is not going to be tolerated. Those arms of government will also have to be strengthened to be able to perform their functions,” he stated.
Addressing Parliament on the floor of the House prior to the presentation of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy yesterday, Mr Bagbin said: “We can no longer allow the Executive to be running amok without any checks and balances.”
“I am sure this is sufficient notice. I have seen an indication of what is alleged to be ceiling for those arms. I am not going to take that, he added.
“So, the Ministry of Finance is well represented and our own member is coming to read the budget. Kindly take note or else you will have it tough with the right Honourable Speaker,” he said.
The Speaker stated that prior to the approval of this year’s budget, he received indications that the capital expenditure for Parliament and the Judiciary had completely been taken.
He, however, cautioned that such deprivation would not “happen under my watch.”
Urging the Executive and the Ministry of Finance to revise the budget for the two arms of government, he said members of Parliament were prepared to go through the budget and pass it.
He pointed out that as part of such commitment, members of the House would no longer be allowed to continue to use their houses as offices to perform government functions and their duties for the good of the country.
“We have been along this path for 28 good years and I am sure now we are grown and the budget is not only for the Executive,” he said.
The Speaker urged the Ministry of Finance to furnish Parliament with hard copies of details of budget estimates since the House was ready to sit 24/7 to consider and approve the budget.
He urged Members of Parliament to prepare themselves towards the consideration of the budget.
“Even if it means we have to sit on Sunday, we have to do so, so that by close of the month the budget would have been passed and the Appropriation Act assented to by His Excellency the President, if not, governance will come to a complete halt,” he added.