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20.12.2005 General News

Govt expenditure budget is a façade -CDD

By GNA
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Accra, Dec 19, GNA - The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) on Monday identified regularly large deviations between budget estimates and actual spending of ministries, departments and agencies.

The budget, according to CDD-Ghana, under-estimates spending on salaries and over-estimates everything else, which show a malfunctioning of the budget system, "they are also profoundly anti-developmental, and there are generally huge shortfalls in actual spending."

In a policy brief paper focusing on the politics of Ghana's budgetary system, which has been dubbed: "Drivers of Change in Ghana," launched in Accra, the centre said the Ministry of Education and Sports' (MES) budgets estimates mean deviation was plus or minus 42 per cent while the Health Ministry recorded 68 per cent plus or minus mean deviations.

"There is evidence of large leakages in allocated funds between their release from the centre and arrival at the point of service delivery...study of the expenditures by the Ministry of Education and Health found that an average of only 51 per cent of the non-salary resources which the Education sector thought had been allocated to any given primary school actually arrived there.

"The position in Health was even worse, for non-salary items, clinics suffered a leakage of no less than 79 per cent as a result patients were forced themselves to pay more than half of the total cost of their treatment - much more than the Ministry had intended."

Speaking at the launched Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, explained that the brief offers a political economy analysis of the expenditure side of Ghana's budgetary system, question the present system and identifies numerous weaknesses in the way it operates.

He also flaws the budgetary preparation stated which he described as closed and non-transparent, while Parliament according to Prof Gyimah-Boadi is unable to exercise effective scrutiny and control, "a situation compounded by the fact that Parliament does not have sufficient time or resources to fulfil its proper role."

The five separate brief papers were launched by Ms Esther Ofei-Aboagye Director of Institute of Local Government Studies at the function, chaired by Prof, Joseph R. A. Ayee, Dean of Social Science Faculty, University of Ghana.

Professor Emmanuel Akyeampong, Chairman of the Committee on African Studies at the Harvard University USA reviewed the publics. Other titles were: "What are the drivers of change in Ghana," which analyses the key challenges that must be addressed to move Ghana forward politically and economically, bearing in mind the strides that have been made in the last twenty years.

"The middle classes and their role in national development," considers the role the middle classes could play in the country's development. It contends that the policies pursued since independence have been unfavourable to the emergence of a dynamic capitalist middle class.

"The role of traditional institutions in political change and development," looks at the role of traditional institutions, especially chiefs in Ghanaian society and politics. It asks what kind of contribution they might make to the strengthening of civil society and to democratic demands for better government.

The last paper, "The role of faith-based associations in political change and development," argues that faith-based associations make an important contribution to the provision and organisation of collective action for public and social services.

However, it recommended that Government and donor support to faith-based activities should be restricted to those organisations that have exhibited willingness to contribute to open policy debates and have a track record of collection action for public service provision or improvement.

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