Minority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament Dr. Atto Forson has underscored the important of parliamentary oversight as one of its key functions.
At the opening of the 2024 post budget workshop organized for the second time in Parliament House, he said the workshop offers opportunity for Members of Parliament to understand the policy under pining the budget and its implications with the medium-term expenditure framework of government.
He noted that Article 103 and clause 3 of the 1992 constitution enjoins Parliamentary Committees to investigate and enquire into activities of ministries, departments and agencies for budgetary approval process and the allocation to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the execution of their programmes for effective exercise of oversight of the Executive is particularly compelling this year for a number of reasons.
On the economy, the Minority leader was not pleased that the public including expects continue to blame parliament as a whole for government’s spending which put the economy under life support, notwithstanding the fact that the minority has consistently warned that the growing debt is unsustainable.
“Our economy is under life support and parliament has not been exempted from the blame by the public and expects, the public has argued that government spending, much has been blessed by parliament and that all the borrowing and spending by government were approved by parliament notwithstanding the fact that the minority has consistently warned that the growing debt is unsustainable”.
He asserts that 2024 is an election year, and its often the case no one needs to be reminded, the fiscal discipline is often placed at the back burner; the quest for electoral fortunes, over spending is the order of the day during election years to satisfy not planned campaign promises, projects that are hurriedly commenced most often without, dedicated funding sources; organized labour is assured of improved condition of service without regard with the impact wage bills.
This budget, he said would be the last and final budget to be presented for and on behalf of the president Nana Akufo-Addo, and the temptation to honor some of government promises irrespective of the consequence on the Ghanaian economy is very high.
This budget is the first since the government signed onto the IMF Programme and comes with strict conditionalities that would burden and bring hardship to Ghanaians, hence with all these we as MPs we need to scrutinize the budget and ensure government spend within the allowed fiscal space.
Dr. Forson thus called on MPs to support the country and have a critical look into the budget even the smallest potion, particularly the table and appendixes and make sure that all the allocations are prudent and good for purpose.
This year’s workshop will be an improvement over the previous years and should reflect some of the contributions that they would make on the floor. “I am confident that MPs would do justice to the debate”.
“Colleagues Ghanaians are watching us we need to increase our oversight responsibilities, we need to look at this budget and explain to Ghanaians that we care about them; the hardship they are going through.