‘Accompany bills with fiscal, economic impact assessment’

Professor William Baah-Boateng, Head, Department of Economics, University of Ghana, has called on Parliament to exercise its oversight role by ensuring that bills laid before the House were accompanied by fiscal and economic impact assessment.

According to him, such fiscal impact analysis would help the legislature to determine the effect of such proposal on the revenue and expenditure of government as well as its potential to generate employment for the people.

Prof. Baah-Boateng made the call at a forum organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs at Parliament House.

The forum which was on the theme: “Interrogating Parliament’s legislative power: A review of employment creation and fiscal impact analysis of legislations” was attended by members of the Finance Committee, Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament as well as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

Prof. Baah-Boateng, who made a presentation on the topic: “The scrutiny of employment: Creating potentials of legislative proposals by the Parliament of Ghana” stressed the need for Parliament to make the issues of sustainable employment a priority in its legislation since it is the main source of livelihood.

He explained that employment also influences the training and skill development, national stability and development.

Prof. Baah-Boateng said even though Parliament is mostly concerned about the fiscal issues, growth and macro stability, it tends to overlook issues of employment.

Prof. Godfred Alufar Bokpin, University of Ghana Business School, who spoke on the topic: “Fiscal impact analysis accompanying legislative proposals in Ghana; What is Parliament’s responsibility?”, indicated that Parliament has an obligation to optimise budget by marching national needs with available resources consistent with fiscal limit.

He argued that whenever a bill was coming to Parliament from the executive arm of government or a covered entity, the bill should be accompanied by fiscal impact analysis to guide Parliament.

Prof. Bokpin explained that if the bill was coming from a covered entity, the ministries must conduct the fiscal impact analysis before it gets to Parliament.

He applauded Parliament for the passage of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act, 2016, Act 921, which he described as significant for the harmonisation of legislative framework in managing public funds.

Prof. Bokpin said the importance of the fiscal impact analysis was to strengthen the key objective of the PFM Act in terms of fiscal policy formulation and implementation, budget efficiency, prudent debt management, transparency, accountability and also to improve macro fiscal policy formulation and especially its implementation.

Dr Evans Aggrey Darkoh, Chief Director, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, stated that the ministry’s engagement with the two Committees of Parliament was to interrogate the legislative power of Parliament by using the fiscal impact assessment accompanying bills and the employment creating capacity as case study.

He said the view was to identify both formal and informal factors that impacted on parliament in carrying out effective scrutiny of these legislative proposals.

Dr Darkoh also stated the programme sought to examine the potency of the legislative power of Parliament and to discuss House’s power in relation to the examination of fiscal impact assessment of legislative proposals.

He said the intention was to review the responsibilities of Parliament by ensuring that legislative proposals gave due consideration to employment creation.

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