Time to enact Budget Act — Minority Leader
The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, has called for the enactment of a Budget Act and the establishment of the Office of Scrutiny in Parliament.
He explained that the passage of the Budget Act and the presence of the Office of Scrutiny would help Parliament thoroughly scrutinise budgets and major economic transactions before they were put before the House for consideration.
“This will ensure adequate protection of the public purse and the taxpayers’ resources, as well as ensure value for money,” he said.
During an engagement between the leadership of Parliament and the members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) in Parliament, Mr Iddrisu was worried that in the exercise of oversight of budgets over the years under various governments,
Parliament had not exercised diligence before major economic transactions and loans were laid before Parliament.
“My position is that Parliament should not approve any loan or major economic transaction or contract if it is not accompanied by an independent report on value for money,” he stated.
He used the engagement to provide a summary of what transpired during the first meeting of the first session of the eighth Parliament.
Also at the meeting were the Clerk to Parliament, Mr Cyril Kwabena Nsiah, and the Public Affairs Director of Parliament, Ms Kate Addo.
Mr Iddrisu said he was particularly not satisfied with Parliament’s exercise of its oversight function.
He said, for instance, Parliament used just two weeks to scrutinise the 2021 budget, which he described as woefully inadequate for budget scrutiny.
“We are not able to hold ministries and departments accountable for lack of time and for want of time,” he stated.
Mr Nsiah said the changing parliamentary landscape imposed on Parliament a duty to adopt novel and more sophisticated communication tools in the dissemination of relevant information to the citizenry, as well as demystify erroneous public perception of the role of Parliament in the governance architecture.
He said the PPC, as one of Parliament’s key stakeholders in citizens’ engagement, was an essential partner in the Legislature’s quest to set its own gender.
He, therefore, reminded the members of the PPC of their responsibility to provide to the Ghanaian people accurate reportage on matters relating to Parliament to help project a positive image of Parliament.
“As professional media practitioners, you are required to practise your trade in accordance with regulations and ethics prescribed by the statutes governing freedom of speech, which include the verification and authenticity of pieces of information prior to their dissemination,” he stated.