The legislative arm of government (Parliament) will receive more generous resource allocation in the 2022 financial year than will be given to the Audit Service and the third arm of government, the judiciary, estimates in the government 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy indicates.
The three institutions – Parliament, the Audit Service and the judiciary – are obliged by law to submit their budget estimates to the president for consideration, negotiation and approval.
The Audit Service submitted its budget estimates, totalling GHC680,758,584, to the president. The Ministry of Finance had no revisions and, as such, the government agreed to accommodate its entire proposed expenditure estimates for the year 2022.
The judiciary and Judicial Service submitted their estimates amounting to GHC621,658,441 to the president. However, after negotiations with the third arm of government, the government recommended GHC576,412,000 for approval by Parliament. The government per the approved estimate, reduced the budgetary allocation of the judiciary and the Judicial Service by GHC45,246,441.
Not one pesewa less
Parliament and the Parliamentary Service, on the other hand, submitted their estimates to the president in a letter signed by the Speaker, demanding GHC1.73 billion and nothing less.
However, the government initially proposed GHC510,777,000 as expenditure estimates it can accommodate for the year 2022 for Parliament. The Speaker and his team rejected this proposal.
Subsequent negotiations resulted in a recommendation of GHC687,999,121 by the government, which translates to GHC111,587,121 above the sum for the judiciary and GHC7,240,538 above what is allotted for the Audit Service.
On 17 November, the Speaker delayed the reading of the 2022 Budget for some two hours, refusing to allow the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to read the Budget unless Parliament’s demand for GHC1.73 billion as its budgetary allocation for the year 2022 was granted.
Even though Asaase News sources familiar with the meeting between the Speaker and the Finance Minister before the presentation of the Budget say that the government was prepared to make adjustments, the difference was nowhere near what the Speaker was demanding.
To this end, the matter was deferred for further consideration at the appropriation stage. The Speaker’s concern also figured among the five demands the Minority group in Parliament cited through the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, during the final debate on the 2022 Budget, on 26 November 2021, as well as the removal of certain taxes.
Some economists, political scientists and constitutional law experts have thus explained that the woes with the leadership of Parliament over the 2022 Budget began even before the Budget was presented to the House on 17 November.
They also raise issue with the fact that while the Speaker believes that for Parliament to function properly it requires GHC1.73bn to spend in 2022, including providing offices for its members in their 275 constituencies, ironically, the most contentious issue about the Budget is efforts by the government to raise the same revenues, which are to be used to meet the expenditure demands.