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Release full budgetary allocation for Ministry of Defence - Speaker of Parliament urges Finance Ministry

BY: Daniel Kenu and Nana Konadu Agyeman
Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin
Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has urged the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to release in full the budget estimate Parliament has approved for the Ministry of Defence to enable the security agencies to discharge their mandate.

He said the practice of the MoF not releasing all the budgetary allocation for the Defence Ministry did not auger well for the safety and security of the individual and community, as well as the stability of the country, which could not be toiled with.

“My checks from the Defence Ministry and the Controller and Accountant-General Department clearly indicated to me that the security agencies are one of the priority areas of the government, but this is not what is reflected in the performance of 2022,” he said.

Shortfall release

Speaking on the floor of Parliament ahead of the approval of the GH¢3.742 billion for the Defence Ministry last Monday, Mr Bagbin said, “It is sad when I really read and saw that approximately 81 per cent of the budget on goods and services had not been released to the Ministry of Defence.”

The budget is meant for the implementation of the programmes and activities of the ministry for the 2023 financial year.

MP’s concern

The Speaker stated that in response to a concern by the National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament (MP) for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, who told the House that even though Parliament approved a budget of GH¢141 million as capital expenditure for the Ministry of Defence for 2022 as of September this year, the ministry had received only GH¢89 million.

Mr Dafeamekpor described the development as “a very serious matter” that required that budgetary allocation to the security should not be delayed.

“Year in and year out, we stand on the floor and say that we are pleading with the Ministry of Finance. We should stop pleading and demand.

“Mr Speaker, when they collect the tax, they use the law to do so and they come here to make allocation and we give approval. We should not be pleading with the MoF to release money.

“How do you expect the army to work well if what they require in 2022 you cannot release all to them?” he quizzed.

We won’t tolerate it again

Expressing unhappiness with the persistent failure of the Finance Ministry to release approved budget estimates of the Defence Ministry and others, Mr Bagbin wondered why Parliament would approve a budget, only for the Finance Ministry to drag its feet in implementing it.

“We are in charge, we legislate and pass the laws on taxation and Ministry of Finance is to implement; if they are failing to do it, we have to take them on and not to be appealing to them,” the Speaker stated.