PARLIAMENT LAST Friday went on recess after approving a provisional total amount of GH¢2,218,506,931 as government expenditure for the first quarter of 2009 fiscal year.
This amount, according to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning represents about 25 percent of the total budgetary figure comprising both the statutory and discretionary payments for the 2009 financial year which is yet to be presented.
The approval of the provisional estimates by 'keeper' of the public purse is to enable the incoming administration to meet the expenditure necessary to carry out its services and to give the new government the opportunity to make input into the budget of the 2009 financial year in line with constitutional provisions.
Article 180 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana states that “where it appears to the President that the Appropriation Act in respect of any financial deed will not come into operation by the beginning of that financial year, he may, with the prior approval of Parliament by a resolution authorize the withdrawal of moneys from the Consolidated Fund for the purposes of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the government in respect of the period expiring three months from the beginning of the financial year or on the coming into operation of the Act whichever is earlier”.
Pursuant to this provision, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning acting on the authority of the President and before the end of the year, and beginning of the next financial year requested the House to approve by resolution, the withdrawal of monies from the Consolidated Fund for the purposes of meeting government expenditure in respect of the first three months of the next financial year.
According to the minister, it appeared to the President that the Appropriation Act in respect of the financial year commencing on January 1, 2009 will not come into operation by the beginning of the said financial year hence the approval by Parliament of the expenditure of the first quarter of the 2009 fiscal year.
The House reconvenes on December 16, 2008 to continue with the business of the legislature for the last lap of this current Parliament.
By Awudu Mahama