A staggering and unprecedented elephantine allocation of GHc 1,560,926,672 on page 173 of the 2017 Budget to the Office of Government Machinery (Presidency) which was revealed in Parliament last Thursday by Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa the MP for North Tongu and Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament continues to generate controversy.
Policy think tank IMANI issued a statement over the weekend calling for expenditure at the presidency to be “tamed” .
Joy FM Super Morning Show host Kojo Yankson promised last Friday to delve into the revelation further expressing his disquiet.
The GH ¢1.56 billion figure is unconscionably more than double the 2016 allocation of GH¢ 718, 854, 913 to the OGM.
What is even more frightening is the fact that if one adds the entire allocations of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 to the Presidency one gets a total of 1,329,138,174 still far less than the 2017 single year allocation under President Akufo Addo.
Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa has also revealed that this GH ¢1.56 billion allocation is far higher than what was individually allocated to 27 out of the 30 sector Ministries. Actually only the Ministries of Education, Health and Interior have allocations higher than this figure because of their wages and compensation budget due to large staff strength.
Many Ghanaians are surprised that a party that promised an efficient and modest government will engage in this kind of conduct.
What appears to aggravate matters is the sharp cut in allocations to the GETFund, DACF, NHIL and Poverty Reduction Expenditure in Education only for all the savings to be sent to the Presidency.
IMANI has added that what is also worrying is the history of over expenditure at the Presidency which could make this already mind-boggling amount exceeded by end of the 2017 fiscal year.
“Wondering why you keep hearing about inflated project and transaction costs? It is simple. Most of them are cooked within a voracious and amorphous entity called the Office of Government Machinery with its captain being the Presidency.
2000 – Ghana Airways finally implodes leaving tax payers saddled with liabilities of $130 – $160 million depending who you ask.
2006 – Government commences building the Jubilee House originally projected to cost $50m, which will eventually cost $135 – $165 million, depending who you ask.
2010 – The successor national airline, Ghana International airlines, finally implodes saddling taxpayers with liabilities of $14 – $21 million depending who you ask..
This is why to IMANI the best way to deal with corruption is for it to be tamed at the Presidency.”
Meanwhile sources close to the Minority in Parliament say the Minority will hold a press conference today Monday at 1pm to put out more revelations on this matter.