Parliament has approved a minimum amount of 182. 9 billion cedis (20 million dollars) for the planning and organization of Ghana's Golden Jubilee Independence celebrations next year.
The amount was part of the votes in the supplementary estimates or budget approved by Parliament.
Some Minority MPs in their contribution to the debate preceding the approval of the supplementary budget raised objections to the amount allocated for the celebrations.
They complained that the amount was too huge considering that Ghanaians are suffering and the country itself is facing enormous economic and infrastructure challenges.
“Mr. Speaker, I think the money is too huge. As a third world country with so many problems, how can we be spending 20 million dollars on a Golden Jubilee celebration? I think this is not right. The minister for finance must revise the figure”, opposition National Democratic MP for Asawase, Mohammed Mubarak said.
Some also raised issues about how the monies would be expended. The minister failed to state in the budgetary estimates specifics of how the money would be utilized.
According to the estimates given provided to the House, the money would go into running an anniversary office, buy fleet of cars, renovate the Independence Square and all issues related to the anniversary.
The minority MPs said the explanations are vague and demanded a more detailed explanation on the specific allocations.
The government side of the House however expressed surprise at the minority's objection to the 20 million dollars to be spent on the anniversary.
They argued that the money could be more considering the caliber of celebrations envisaged.
“I am surprised people are raising objections. Ghana is the first country to achieve Independence in this part of Africa, and considering the fact that many presidents and a large number of tourists would be visiting us, this amount is even small. This amount is small if we want a show…” MP for Akyem Oda, a former Finance Minister and the former Education and Sports Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo said.
“I don't see why people are complaining. This is peanut considering what we expect to do”, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman chipped in to the chagrin of the opposition.
The Finance minister, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu assured the MPs that his ministry would present details of how the monies would be spent in due course.
The House approved the entire estimates to allow the government to spend 4.3 trillion cedis as supplementary estimates for the rest of the year.