The Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, is said to be saddened by what he described as bad faith displayed by some government officials.
According to him, he met with some officials from the executive arm of Government to discussed issues affecting both the Legislature and the judiciary Arms of government concerning budget allocations to the two equally important institutions.
He said hours after the meeting, an Accra based radio station was heard passing ill-comments about him for proposing an allocation of two percent (2%) each of the total revenue of the state to the Legislature and the Judiciary for the 2022 financial year, leaving the remaining 96% under the purview of the Executive arm of Government.
The Speaker made this known in his opening address at a two days post Budget Workshop for Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the 2022 financial year held at the Volta Serene Hotel in the Volta Region over the weekend.
Rt. Hon Bagbin has however vowed to ensure that the Legislature and the Judiciary are adequately resourced to function effectively to offer the checks and balances expected of them.
He cautioned that due to the composition of the 8th Parliament where both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have 137 seats appease and a Speaker who is not from the Governing party, the August House is therefore properly positioned not to allow itself to be used as a rubber stamp or sing the tune of the Executive arm.
Rt. Hon Bagbin, insisted that the Legislature and the Judiciary are both arms of Government and must be treated as such.
“Enough provision must be made to enable the two arms of Government to function effectively and offer the checks and balances that are expected of them.
Holding back on our budgetary requirements amounts to preventing Parliament and the Judiciary from carrying out their mandate as provided for in the Constitution,” he stressed.
In the quest for budget equity, the Speaker of Parliament explained that for beginning, the Parliamentary Service Board is proposing an allocation of 2% each of the total revenue of the state to the Legislature and the Judiciary for the 2022 financial year, leaving the remaining 96% under the purview of the Executive arm of Government.
“Is it too much to ask for two Cedis from every Hundred Cedis that we have authorized the Executive to mobilize from the good people and assets of Ghana to strengthen Parliament to be effective and efficient in the performance of its role, function and duties?” the Rt Hon Speaker quizzed.
According to him it’s an imperative for the current MPs and leadership of the House to put its best foot forward in all its dealings since the citizens have become deeply aware and interested in the work of Parliament and its leaders because of the ease of access to information.
He continued saying, “We have been clothed with enough powers to approve or not to approve budget statements depending on our assessment of its relevance and value. As we do this, let us keep in mind what Dave Ramsey, the American radio presenter said: “You must gain control over your finances, or the lack of it will forever control you!”
A visibly worried Rt Hon Speaker stated emphatically that he doesn’t enjoy District Assemblies Common Fund, GetFund, nor National Health Insurance Fund, thus whatever he is asking is for is to the benefit of MPs and Parliament as an institution.
He revealed that the only thing that a Speaker of Parliament retires on is rent allowance compared to what other Article 73 Holders retired on.
He therefore reiterated his resolute to see the two other arms of Government to function effectively and efficiently.
“If we say, we are practicing democracy, then let’s equally resourced the three arms of government to perform its constitutionally mandated.” Rt Hon Bagbin re-emphasised.