Parliament on Wednesday evening approved the 2022 annual budget estimates of various ministries as part of the process towards the preparation of an Act (Appropriation Act 2022) to provide for the withdrawal of sums of money necessary to meet government expenditure for the financial year from the Consolidated Fund and other public funds and for related matters.
The ministries that got their budgets approved included the Railway Development; Transport, Roads & Highways; as well as Environment, Science, Technology & Innovations.
These budget estimates contain programmes and projects that the Ministries, Departments and Agencies are seeking to undertake in the ensuing year as aligned to the national policy direction of the government.
The estimates also spell out costs associated with each programme by their economic classifications.
The adoption of the motions of the 2022 Annual Budget Estimates comes after the approval of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government which was presented to the House on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
On November 30, 2021, the House approved the national budget for the 2022 financial year after Members of Parliament (MPs) from the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) pushed through a vote when their counterparts from the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) boycotted the meeting.
The budget was initially rejected on November 26, 2022 by the NDC MPs who voted during a walk-out by NPP MPs, who also had said the action was unconstitutional.
The opposition MPs are objecting to the budget on the basis of an imposition of a 1.75% tax on electronic transactions, including mobile money payments, and this has become the point of contention.
The Finance Minister has said the 1.75% levy on all electronic transactions is intended to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector.
On the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, the House unanimously approved the sum of GH¢921.843 million for the Transport Ministry, GH¢4.000673 billion for the Roads and Highways Ministry, GH¢574.856 million for the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, as well as GH¢221.950 million for the Railway Development Ministry.
On the Transport Ministry, the Roads and Transport Committee took cognisance of the fact that the ministry, since 2019, has seen an increase in its annual budgetary allocation.
It said the ministry was allocated an amount of GH¢287,330,480.47, GH¢402,819,897, and GH¢657,839,197 in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively.
The committee noted that a total sum of GH¢921,843,000.00 allocated to the ministry for the 2022 financial year represents an increase of 40.13% over the 2021 budgetary allocation of GH¢657,839,197.00.
The committee commended government for the allocation to the Transport Ministry and recommended the timely release of funds to ensure the effective and efficient execution of its programmes.
On the Roads and Highway Ministry, the committee said its attention was drawn to the issue of inadequate technical staff.
According to the Chairman, Kennedy Nyarko Osei (NPP Swedru), it came to the fore that engineers engaged at the ministry were being under paid as compared to market premium, thereby making it difficult to retain quality engineers.
“Ultimately, this has a direct effect on the quality of work. The committee is of the view that incentive packages could be employed to augment the low remuneration and retain quality engineers,” he stated when he seconded the motion for the approval of the budget estimates.
Source: Daily Guide