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Nov 26, 2013

Parliament to create Office of Scrutiny

Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, Speaker of Parliament, has said the Office of the Speaker was liaising with the United Kingdom House of Commons to establish an office of scrutiny.

He said the new Office of Scrutiny would be engaged in providing services for the conduct of independent expert analysis of policy measures including the scrutiny of international loan agreements introduced in the House.

Mr Adjaho, who said this at a workshop on the theme; Retooling MPs for Effective Scrutiny of the 2014 Financial Policy of Government, further explained that the Office of Scrutiny would also work to assist committees of the House with expert opinion.

Topics discussed included, macro-economy, revenues and governance, micro-socio economic aspects of the budget, Agriculture and productivity-strategic intervention, the 2014 budget and education sector, employment generation-strategic interventions, Policy framework of the 2014 budget

He said Parliament was not well equipped to independently assess budgetary data and that it lacked the back up support of professional economists and budget researchers readily available to the executive.

Mr Adjaho said this made effective scrutiny of the budget and other policy measures a daunting task.

Mr Adjaho said this year’s budget statement and economic policy was the start of the process of changing from the current activity-based to a programme-based budget structure to improve effectiveness and efficiency of public expenditure.

He said Members of Parliament needed to have good appreciation of the budget to be able to discuss it, raise legitimate concerns relevant to the interest of the people since the involvement of Parliament was mainly at the scrutiny for approval phase and monitoring of implementation phase which are all very important phases in the budget cycle.

Dr Leslie Casely Hayford, Associates for Change who presented a paper on 2014 budget for the education sector, said  5,816,315,034 Ghana cedis  compared to last year (2013)  4,412,695,383 Ghana cedis was dedicated to the sector.

She said projected 2014 budget  was 30.18 per cent of Ministries Departments and Agencies allocations  while actual expenditure as of September 2013 was 3,120, 818,715.

Dr Leslie said the 2014 budget had some positive indicators including attempting to improve the quality of basic education, emphasis on deployment of trained teachers, support for in service training research, places emphasis on assisting girls to attain higher levels of education through Senior High School scholarships and subsidies in deprived areas.

Source: GNA