Supplementary Budget Generates Controversy
7/19/2012 6:31:26 PM -
The presentation of a supplementary budget by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, to Parliament Wednesday, did not pass without reaction from the Minority in the House.
The about 45-minute presentation was characterised by boos and jeers, after which the Minority stated that the government had resorted to supplementary budgets as a result of poor budgeting.
The government is requesting for a supplementary estimate of GH¢2,613,407,346 for 2012 to meet floats and commitments from 2011, the payment of deferred wages resulting from the phased migration of public sector workers onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), utility and fuel under-recoveries and other expenditure measures such as debt-servicing costs and transfers to the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
But speaking to journalists after the presentation, the Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, said the government’s payroll audit and cleaning exercise to remove ghost names to bring in significant savings of about GH¢500 million could not be achieved.
He wondered how many “ghost” workers the government expected to remove from the payroll in order to get such an amount.
Commenting on the arrears to be paid to government workers as a result of their migration onto the SSSS, Dr Akoto Osei wondered where the government was going to get money to meet the arrears.
He stated that all the government’s projections for 2012 “are out of the windows” because of poor budgeting, as a result of which the country would be in difficulty for the rest of the year.
But the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Mr James Klutse Avedzi, told graphic.com.gh that there was nothing wrong for the government to come to Parliament to seek approval for its additional expenditure.
“Budgets are estimates and cannot be 100 per cent. To spend more money, the government is bound to come to the House for approval,” he said.
One important measure announced by Dr Duffuor during his presentation was the expenditure monitoring and control measure put in place to ensure that excess spending was avoided, especially with elections coming up later in the year.
He said the requirement that commencement certificates be secured by ministries before committing the government to any contractual obligation still remained in force.
“Ministries, departments and agencies have been directed not to commit funds to projects not contained in the budget,” he stated, adding that to ensure strict compliance with those directives, an Expenditure Monitoring Team had been set up to strictly monitor expenditure to ensure that no slippages occurred.