Parliament has passed the Appropriation Bill for an amount of GH¢67,279,955,085 to be issued from the Consolidated Fund and other funds for the year ending December 31, 2017, for the purpose of meeting government expenditure.
The approval of the Bill is in pursuit of Article 179(2)(a) of the Constitution seeking Parliamentary Authority to enable the government to meet its spending.
Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, the Chairman of the Finance Committee, presenting the report to Parliament, said the Bill was of urgent nature and must be taken through all the stages of passage in one day in accordance with Article 106(13) of the Constitution, and Order 119 of the Standing Orders of the House.
He said the House, having approved various sums as budget estimates for Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), it had become imperative that the Minister of Finance be given authority to withdraw such approved funds for the purposes thereof.
He said out of the total amount of GH¢67,279,955,085 estimated expenditure for 2018, GH¢37,486,052,978 would constitute payments of other government obligations whilst the rest would cover discretionary payments.
Mr Cassel Ato-Forson, the Ranking Member of Parliament, making his contribution, urged the Ministry of Finance to ensure the timely release of funds to MDAs.
He said statutory funds such as the NHIS and GetFund have not been dealt with properly since there were arrears that needed to be cleared.
Mr Ato-Forson appealed to the Minister of Finance to look at the budgetary allocation to the Ministry for Special Development closely and correct any anomalies therein.
He said the Government should allow the 275 constituencies to decide what they wanted to use the $1 million for and should not be decided by the Central Government.
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Member of Parliament for Ofoase-Ayirebi, commended the Government, through the Finance Ministry, for managing the economy to ensure expenditure was kept within the target to avoid the deficit.
He said the Government was able to achieve its revenue target in 2017 despite the fact that there were challenges in terms of revenue growth.
He said in 2018 even as the government encouraged the improvement in revenue growth, the Ministry should make ensure that they kept an eye on the deficit numbers.
“Despite the fact that we want to spend, we should do it in such a way that it does not put our economy in jeopardy in the short to medium term,” he added.