Come with a revised budget -Haruna tells Finance Minister
Owing to recent expenditures made by the government in containing the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, is asking the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to present a revised budget to the House.
According to Mr Iddrisu, he is of the belief that the 2020 budget, which was approved some months back, cannot stand the threat of the Covid-19, hence the need for a revised budget.
He said he is not oblivious of the fact that the Minister would be appearing soon in the house to read the supplementary budget, as required by the Public Financial Management Act, but it would be better if he comes to the house earlier.
“I have no hesitation in requesting that, probably, the Minister for Finance would have to come to Parliament earlier than is required of him under the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA) with a revised budget.
“I have no fear of contradiction that with or without the 2020 budget, he does not think that the budget approved for 2020 can stand the threat of Covid. Therefore, the Minister of finance has to come to the House with a revised budget.”
Mr Iddrisu made the request while giving his opening remarks to commence activities for the first sitting of the second meeting of Parliament yesterday.
The PFMA is an act set to regulate the financial management of the public sector within a macroeconomic and fiscal framework, and the Finance Minister is charged with the responsibility of preparing the annual and supplementary budget estimates and reports for submission to Parliament.
The act also charges the Minister to submit to Parliament for approval the budget of covered entities as required under the act, or any other enactment, to ensure compliance of the covered entities, and as well monitor and assess the implementation of the annual budget and ensure the implementation of the fiscal policy.
The last time the Minister presented a budget was in November 2019, and he is expected to present a supplementary budget coming July.
However, Mr Iddrisu said it will in the interest of the country for the Minister to present a revised budget to the house before the July event, to help contain the pandemic.
Aside this, Mr Iddrisu also asked the Minister to come and account for monies that have been approved for the fight against the pandemic. “We need transparency and accountability.”
He said, already members have given the Minister the necessary approvals on monies to be sued to fight the pandemic, and has also responded to the national crisis by supporting the executive to engage in every lawful and legitimate exercise in containing the pandemic, “so it is only proper for the Minister to come and account for it.”
He also opined that it is time the government begins a national discussion on post covid-19 and discuss what would happen to the country.
On the resumption of the House, Mr Iddrisu encouraged his colleagues to lend all their support to the executive arm of government to help preserve the lives of citizens, and they have to demonstrate to Ghanaians that Parliament, as an institution, would do all it can to support Ghanaians in the fight against the disease.
He also assured the Speaker that members will engage constructively and cooperate in the discharge of their duties and obligations as a Parliament for the good of the country.
Meanwhile, as part of measures to contain the spread of the disease in the House, members and all parliamentary staff would be taken through a Covid-19 test at the House today.