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13.11.2005 General News

Presentation of budget-premature- Bagbin

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Elmina (C/R) Nov 13, GNA - Mr. Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader has described the presentation of the 2006 budget statement to Parliament ahead of the actual fiscal year as premature. He said work on the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy 2 had not been concluded and incorporated into the Budget and therefore the early presentation was premature.

Mr Bagbin was contributing to discussion at a two-day 2006 budget review workshop, which began on Saturday at Elmina in the Central Region.

It was organised by the Canadian Parliamentary Centre with the aim of building effective parliamentary oversight to ensure that estimates of revenue and expenditure of government reflected the needs of Ghanaians as prioritised in the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy. Mr Harouna Iddrisu, NDC-Tamale South, said there would be difficulties if the trend of the early presentation of the 2006 budget was followed in an election year.

He said in the event that the election year budget was presented and approved by Parliament before the general elections in December, when the government loses power, a new government was not likely to follow through with that budget.

Other members of Parliament who contributed to discussions called for the consultations between the Executive and members of Parliament in the preparation of budget statements.

They said MPs as representatives of the people have a say in the final output of the fiscal policies of government since they could best determine where resources should go.

Alhaji Sumani Abubakari, NDC-Tamale North, said Parliamentarians should not be used to 'rubber stamp' budget statements but must be given the chance to make an input in the budget statement.

Dr Rasheed Draman of the Canadian Parliamentry Centre, who spoke on the role of parliament in the budget cycle, questioned if there was enough political will by the executive and legislature to ensure effective implementation of the budget.

He said it was a development challenge to translate plans and policies into reducing poverty.

Earlier, Mr. Ebenezer Sakyi-Hughes, Speaker who opened the workshop said: "Issues on waste and misappropriation of funds are endemic problems encountered in our economic management."

He therefore, urged the MPs to show commitment to exposing malfeasance to ensure accountability to the people.

The Speaker urged the MPs to use the workshop to sharpen their skills to enable them to debate the budget and discuss issues of economic management, which are dear to the heart of ordinary people.

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