Parliament rejects budget allocation for Office of Senior Minister

Professor Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education

Professor Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education

Parliament has rejected the budget estimate for the Office of the Senior Minister for the year ending December 31, 2018 for its planned programmes and policies.

The House argued that the office is not a legal creation and could not be allocated any funds from the national budget as an independent agency.

Leading the rejection in Parliament yesterday, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the Office of Senior Minister is not a stand-alone ministry as it is tasked to coordinate the various ministries, departments and agencies.

The Office of the Senior Minister was created as one of the ten ministries created by President Akufo-Addo upon assuming office in January.

At his vetting in Parliament in January, the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, said his role will be to “coordinate” the activities of economic ministries of the government.

The estimate contained in the 2018 budget for the ministry was GH¢ 6,062,742 million.

“We need evidence that the President acted appropriately and legally, creating it by an Executive Instrument which he is required to do” Haruna Iddrisu, MP, Tamale South said.

He said the role of the office is to coordinate activities of other ministries and departments and cannot be treated as a ministry because it has no legal backing.

“As far as we are concerned, his office is not a legal creation and that is not accepted per the laws of the country,” he submitted.

The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, supporting his opposite colleague said the Office ought to be placed under the Office of Government Machinery (OGM) for proper accountability.

“To me, it is perfectly in order except as I have observed if it should be placed under the OGM and within that basket, it should be possible for us as a House to oversee how much has been allocated to the office.

“We cannot [approve the estimate of the Office of Senior Minister] because it does not come under any Executive Instrument (EI), voting for this may be difficult,” he stated.

The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, said Standing Order 82 gave the Majority Leader the leave to withdraw the estimate.

The Order reads that “A Member who has proposed a motion may withdraw it, but if the motion has been seconded to, may do so only by leave of the House.”

The House, meanwhile, approved budgets for the Ministries of Employment and Labour Relations, Regional Reorganisation and Development, Railway Development, Aviation, Finance and the National Labour Commission.

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