June 7, 2011

Ghana’s Parliament has received a very poor rating over its financial function in a new report to be released in Nairobi Kenya, on Tuesday June 7.

The document, titled the African Parliamentary Index, was prepared by the Africa office of the Canadian Parliamentary Centre in Accra, and covers 7 working Parliaments on the continent.

Also referred to as the power of the purse in Parliamentary parlance, the financial function of a Parliament means the Legislature controls the finances of the State and therefore has the responsibility to disburse such resources.

The financial function transcends the mere allocation of funds to encompass a general understanding of economic indicators and how decisions of the Legislature such as increases in taxes and the imposition of levies impact on economic activity generally.

When put to the test, Ghana scored 4.6 on a scale of 0 to 10. Uganda scored 8.4 to take the top spot followed by Benin, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia.

The Parliament of Ghana came last on the financial function scale. This comes at a time of growing concerns that Ghana could lose a huge chunk of its revenue from the commercial exploitation of oil if steps are not taken to police them at all levels.

Another major area that Ghana’s Parliament recorded a poor rating was the legal mandate scale. Ghana scored 3.4 ahead of Senegal, Kenya, and Benin but came behind Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

This component means that the public in Ghana has little access to make inputs into the legislative process in the 230 member legislature. It also means that the Ghanaian Legislature has done little in terms of putting in place a mechanism to monitor the impact of laws passed.

This not-withstanding, Dr Rasheed Draman, the Director of Africa Programs at the Parliamentary Centre, said Ghanaians should not overly criticise the Ghanaian legislature.

On the other sub indicators – the capacity to review and conduct budget hearings – Uganda and Benin registered a score of 7.9 each whilst the Parliament of Tanzania had the least capacity score.

In terms of periodic review of the budget, Ghana’s Parliament had less capacity compared to the others.

On oversight function, Ghana scored 6.9. On the institutional capacity scale Ghana and Benin came first with 7.9 each

Source: citifmonline.com