The Executive Director of Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica), Sammy Obeng, has given a thumbs up to the Parliament of Ghana for coming out with scathing colours this time round with its sterling performance over the purse.

A post on his Facebook page read, “Excited about Parliament of Ghana’s work on the 2023 budget, as it shows boldness in its ‘power of the purse’ function.”

The Executive Director of the Parliamentary Monitoring Organization (PNAfrica) based in Ghana and with footprints all over Africa, made the commendation after the Parliament succeeded in making some cuts to the 2023 budget and making some savings on the consolidated fund and thereby performing one of its cardinal functions of protecting the public purse.

On the last day of sitting before the Parliament of Ghana rose for the Christmas and New Year recess on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, the Parliament of Ghana upon the insistence of the Minority Group, blocked and reallocated an amount of GHC80 million earmarked for the construction of the controversial National Cathedral. The MPs forced the Finance Minister to realign the resources into the construction of the much-needed roads and telecommunication sectors.

It also did not allow a GHC1.3 billion budget for the reconstruction of the Accra International Conference Center (AICC) to go through; blocked the allocation of GHC1.4 billion to the opaque Contingency Vault coffers where some unapproved expenditure to the National Cathedral had been made in the past. The amount to the Contingency Vault was drastically reduced to GHC 533 million.

The House scrapped the allocation of GHC27.5 million to the Special Development Initiatives Secretariat & the Monitoring and Evaluation Secretariat at the Office of the President. Virtually collapsing them with this decision because they were considered to be duplicating the roles of other properly constituted state agencies.

They further shot down moves by the Government to establish new diplomatic missions in Jamaica, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobego.

Mr. Sammy Obeng concluded his post by indicating that, “more of these from our Parliament as desperate times call for difficult measures.”

The Minority Group in particular, resisted Government’s proposal to remove the GHC100 threshold on electronic money transactions (E-Levy), such as mobile money transfers; and caused Government to backtrack on a tax measure intended to compel drivers, particularly commercial drivers to produce tax clearance certificates as a requirement for renewing driver’s license.

However, the Opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus lost the fight to stop the ruling Government from implementing the proposed increase in VAT to 2.5 percent in 2023.
A post going around on social media authored by an MP from the NDC Caucus, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, alluded to this.

He wrote in his post, “Our only setback: Objectively and sincerely, despite an unwavering determination of the NDC Parliamentary Caucus to achieve all we set out to accomplish in solidarity with suffering Ghanaians, we lost the crucial VAT vote by a narrow 136-135.

“This is the only item on our 8-Point Must-Win-Agenda which we failed to deliver, and for which we are deeply pained. We did our very best but as they say, it’s always difficult to win everything. Nevertheless, we live to fight another day.

“Together, with a high dose of patriotism and unquestionable integrity, we shall construct the Ghana we want.”

Source: Clement Akoloh||

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