Parliament Gets Budget Office

Parliament of Ghana

Ghana’s
Parliament is hosting the 4th African Network Parliamentary Budget
Officers Conference on the theme “The Role of African Parliaments in Fiscal
Oversight: Contributing to the African Union’s 2063 Development Agenda”.

Parliament’s
decision to host the conference will coincide with the inauguration of its
Budget and Fiscal Analysis Office that will assist Parliament to undertake real
time surveillance of public finances by providing an independent, objective and
professional analysis of policy proposals that are presented to the house.

Opening
the three-day conference yesterday (Monday) which is
being participated by delegates from Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia,
Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Canada, the Speaker of Parliament,
Prof. Mike Oquaye said the setting up of a non-partisan independent committee
that will give technical advice to Parliament in the area of international
financial agreements and budget policies was very paramount to achieving the
economic goals of the country.

According
to him, the effectiveness of Parliament in scrutinizing these financial
agreements and government budgets that come to Parliament will be greatly
enhanced with the establishment of this office and pleaded with the government
to make resources easily available for the operation of this non-partisan
advisory financial body for Parliament.

He
said Parliament as an institution- was constitutionally mandated to execute the
power of the public purse- it was very important for it to be properly equipped
with the capacity to effectively control the public purse and do proper
oversight.

He
said Parliament would ensure that very experienced experts in these areas who
are known to be apolitical are recruited to serve in that office.

The
Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation and Member of Parliament (MP) for Old
Tafo, Dr Anthony Osei-Akoto- who represented the vice president, Dr Mahamudu
Bawumia- who was supposed to have been the guest speaker, said that Africans must
unite to achieve a common goal and praised leaders of certain African countries
that have started implementing the parliamentary budget office, as a way of
improving the oversight responsibilities of their respective Parliaments to
ensure effective use of their national resources.

He
noted that even though Ghana is now joining the league of African Network of
Parliamentary Budget Officers, it now has the Right To Information (RTI) Bill,
which will ensure that the new advisory office for Parliament becomes very
effective.

He therefore appealed to all member countries of the African Union to have similar laws in place to boost public accountability and effective use of public resources.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr



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