Ghana Parliament approves GH¢3.7b for Defence Ministry

Parliament on Monday approved GH¢3.7 billion budgetary estimate for the implementation of the programmes and activities of the Ministry of Defence for the 2023 financial year.

Of the total figure, an amount of GH¢3.0 billion representing 80.53 per cent will be provided for compensation, GH¢61.90 million being 1.65 per cent for goods and services and GH¢666.83 million representing 17.82 per cent for capital expenditure.

During the 2022 fiscal year, the Ministry was allocated an amount of GH¢2.2 billion, which was revised to GH¢2.00 for its planned programmes and activities.

The revised allocation comprised of GH¢1.45 billion for compensation of employees (CoE), GH¢29.41 million for goods and services, GH¢141.77 million for Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and GH¢29.90 million for Internally Generated Funds (IGFs).

With regards to performance outlook for 2023, the Ministry of Defence plans to undertake programmes and activities such as continue implementation of the “Earned Dollar Policy”.

Thus, the Ministry will contribute troops and equipment towards international peacekeeping efforts based on the invitation of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission to strengthen Ghana’s role in international affairs.

The Ministry will apprise the Committee on the modernization and transformation of the Military Academy Training Schools at Teshie expected to be completed in 2023.

Mr Dominic Bingab Aduna Nitiwul, the Minister of Defence moved the Motion for the approval of the Ministry’s Budgetary Estimate.

Mr Ken Ohene Agyepong, the Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior, and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Assin Central, who seconded the Motion, said the Committee observed that critical requirements of the agencies under the Ministry were not considered during the allocations of the estimates budget.

He mentioned some of the critical requirements for the Ministry and its agencies such as aircraft, ships, vehicles, residential accommodation, communication and surveillance tools including drones and military handsets.

He said the Committee was of the view that some of the equipment when purchased would enhance the Military’s chance of participating in the UN Peacekeeping Mission that would be of financial benefit to the State.

“The Committee, therefore, recommended that the Government should make effort in procuring some of these equipment.”

He said it came to the attention of the Committee that the Government’s decision to hand over the Saglemi Housing project to the Ministry of Defence could materialize because of the high cost of investment to complement.

Mr James Agalga, Ranking Member, Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior, and National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Bulsa North, said the Committee was excited by the initial decision of the Government to hand over the Saglemi Housing Project to the Military because its locations was near the Bondase Military Training Facility.

He said when the initial decision was taken by the Government, it was their view that the nation would have the Military now living next door to their training camp, which makes it easy for mobilisation of the Military to and fro the Housing Project.

He said subsequent to that they heard in the news, claims made by the Minister of Works and Housing to the effect that the decision and they were now looking forward to handing over that project to a private developer.

“Mr Speaker with the greatest respect and in the interest of security, and to ensure that the accommodation challenges facing the Armed Forces is resolved, we are making a direct appeal through this media to the Government to reconsider its decision and return to the original decision, which was to have the Armed Forces take over the Saglemi Housing,” Mr Agalga said.

Mr Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament in his remarks reminded the Minister of Defence that there were three “S” that one could not toy with in any country – “Safety, Security and Stability”, and noted that the Safety and Security of the individual, the community and the country could not be toyed with.

“My checks from the Ministry and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, clearly indicated to me, that the security agencies are one of the priority areas of Government,” he said

“But this is not what is reflected in the performance of 2022; it is sad, when I really read and saw that approximately 81.00 per cent of the budget on goods and services have not been released to the Ministry of Defence. In this current situation, how do expect them to operate?”

The Speaker urged the House (which has the oversight responsibility over the Ministries, Departments and Agencies) to ensure that going forward, the budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Defence were released by the Ministry of Finance.

Source: GNA

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