Government has clarified its decision to allocate budget of GHS 6 million to improve communication of its flagship programmes.
A Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide, indicated that the amount will enable the government to effectively communicate its work under these programmes.
A budget line in the 2020 Budget has come under scrutiny as being a possible tool to reward the New Patriotic Party (NPP) communicators.
Already, the Minority side in Parliament has raised red flags, questioning the rationale for the allocation.
But speaking on Eyewitness News on Wednesday, Mr. Hadzide said the money is for a good course.
“These flagship programs that are new in nature and revolutionary to all intents and purposes – We have decided that the people of Ghana have to be carried along as far as the implementation of these programs is concerned. You will notice that in the coming weeks, for instance, there is Ghana at Work series that serializes achievements and challenges that have been identified with some of these flagship programs. So the amount that has been allocated under the government's flagship communication is directed specifically to the dissemination of information relative to the government's flagship programs.”
Sam George reacts
Meanwhile, Ningo Prampram MP and NDC Member of the Committee on Communications, Samuel Nartey George, says the allocation is merely to satisfy people's financial needs for no reasonable course.
“There is a budget line for the Ministry of Information that is running into tens of millions, so you ask yourself why you have a whole budget for the Ministry of Information and then another budget for government’s communication. This clearly is a situation where government is taking state resources and putting same in partisan affairs. Government is taking our money to sponsor its spokespersons on radio and TV and also to pay party attaches. “
This issue was first raised by the Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Agriculture, Food and Cocoa Affairs, Eric Opoku, on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday.
He noted that there was a GHS6 million allocation to Government Communication in the budget under the section for expenditure under Government flagship programmes.
In his submission, Mr. Opoku said more clarity was needed on that budget line.
“Mr. Speaker that programme is to cost the Ghanaian taxpayer GHS6 million. Information on this programme is scanty in the budget and to erase the impression that in an election year, the government intends using state resources to pay NPP communicators, we demand further and better particulars.”