By Patrick Biddah
It has emerged that Parliament of Ghana spent a whopping Ghc1 .7 million on a post budget workshop which took place last year in the Eastern regional capital of Koforidua.
Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Mike Oquaye Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu
The amount covers the cost of accommodation, feeding and transportation for a two-day post budget workshop for the 2019 economic policy and budget statement for parliamentarians.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Mike Oquaye, who made the revelation last Saturday at the opening of the 2020 post budget workshopat the D.F Annan auditorium in Parliament, said it is such expenditures that makes it impossible for some Members of Parliament to be provided housing and vehicles.
In of view of this expenditures by Parliament which hinders the provision of housing and vehicles, the Speaker indicated that the decision to organize the 2020 post budget workshop within the precinct of Parliament has therefore saved the state of Ghc1.7 million .
“So now it a matter of trying to maximize our resources after all that is budgetary affair. Budget means opportunity cost in maximizing the resources in terms of benefits that will accrue to the people “,he pointed out.
He was therefore pleased with the Business Committee of Parliament for organizing the workshop within the precinct of Parliament expressing the hope there would be the organization of many of such events within Parliament in rather than going outside Accra in order to save cost .
The post budget workshop, which ended yesterday was to equip members of the House with the relevant information for the debates of the budget which begins today.
“This workshop should help you be in a position to critique the budget and make inform contributions when the debates starts”, he stressed.
The 2020 budget which was presented by the Finance Minister , Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday last week, was under the theme:”Consolidating The Gains For Growth, Jobs and Prosperity For All”.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, in a remark before the workshop will start took on the Finance Minister for peddling what he said was an untrue in view of the 350,000 new jobs into the public sector as presented by the Finance Minister and captured on page 201 and in paragraph 11 .
Explaining his rejection of the Finance Minister’s figure,Mr Haruna who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South said the total number of public servants is 6,886, therefore the government through the Finance Minister cannot lay claim to employ half of that figure after being in office for three years.
On Other matters , he said the Minority just want a harmony between what is allocated and what is actually spent, adding that government should be realistic with its figures.
The Majority Leader, who was not impressed with the attendance of the Members of Parliament urged them to desist from such attitude.
According to him, the MPs initially expressed reservation of the D.F Annan auditorium which is the venue for the workshop not being spacious to accommodate them.
Their absence and low turn out at the start of the workshop, he noted defeated their reservations.
Known for his deep insight into Parliamentary work, the Majority Leader explained that thedebate on the floor after the budget is presented is not to debate the estimates presented by the Finance Minister for the various Ministries, Department and Agencies but rather the economic policy of the government as captured in the statement.