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08.03.2013 Editorial

That GH¢600m Over-Expenditure At The Presidency

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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The Government of Ghana has made its first response to the claim that the Presidency over-shot its approved budget for last year by a whopping GH¢600 million.

The here-today-gone-tomorrow New Patriotic Party (NPP) Minority in Parliament made the allegation in its 'True-State- of-the-Nation address last week, adding that the huge amount, which helped to double the projected deficit for last year to 12.1 per cent, was spent without Parliamentary approval.

Responding to the issue on Wednesday, Information & Media Relations Minister Mahama Ayariga said the claim that the Office of the President (OOTP) spent GH¢600 million in excess of its budget was 'false', and that in any case, the OFTP was totally different from the Office of Government Machinery (OOGM).

'It is absolutely not true; this is the false (sic) of the millennium…meant to malign the Office of the President; the Office of the President is one unit under the Office of Government Machinery.

There are close to sixty organisations operating under the Office of Government Machinery, including MASLOC, AIDS Commission, among others,' Ayariga said on Joy FM.

The Information Minister added that the allegation that the government overspent the allocation for the OOGM was inaccurate.

To The Chronicle the differentiation of the OOTP from the OOGM is mere splitting of hairs. It is akin to saying that the snail, or the tortoise, and its shell are two different entities. We do not remember the last time we heard any mention of an office of government machinery.

Even if the two offices exist and are different, the OOTP is the superior office, and the sins of the other can justifiably be heaped on it a 100-fold. The suggestion that the so-called office of government machinery is a law unto itself is more maligning of the President than any over-expenditure that can be accounted for.

We await the details of the disbursement of the over-expenditure, which Ayariga said would soon be published by the Ministry of Finance, even if it is below the alleged GH¢600 million.

The minister named NADMO, MASLOC and the AIDS Commission as among the almost 60 organisations that come under the office of government machinery.

The Chronicle is waiting to read of the nature of emergencies that NADMO had, and in which parts of the country that they occurred, and consequently necessitated NADMO over-shooting its approved budget.

We all Ghanaians celebrated the AIDS Commission's announcement that the country's prevalence rates are falling. How come the need for extra-budgetary expenditure?

In fact The Chronicle expects to see the full list of the near 60 organisations under the office of government machinery, how much each was given, and what they spent it on.

We all know that the presidency is a human institution. Nobody expects them to be 100 per cent on target all the time. We expect that mistakes would be made some of the time.

When that happens, we expect the President and his men, especially the Chief of Staff, to stand up as the men they are, and own up. When they resort to semantics instead, they insult us.

And we would not take kindly to that!

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