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Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has disclosed that the Finance Ministry has released Ghs14, 172, 313.23 to settle salary arrears for validated teachers engaged between 2013 and 2016.

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Thursday, 4th January, 2018, met with the leaders of the various political parties in the country to seek their views on some governance-enhancing measures his administration intends to take.

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has drawn attention to the urgent need to reform the United Nations. According to President Akufo-Addo, UN reforms have been talked about and scheduled for a long time; but somehow the courage and the will have never been found to reform the United Nations. “Ghana supports the process of UN Reform, especially of the UN Security Council, as set out in Africa’s Common Position on UN Reform, based on the Ezulwini Consensus. The time is long overdue to correct the longstanding injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represent for the nations of Africa,” the President said. He continued, “We cannot continue to preach democracy and fairness around the world, we cannot insist on peace and justice around the world, when our global organisation is not seen by the majority of its members as having a structure that is just and fair. It is, indeed, seen by many as helping to perpetuate an unfair world order.” The UN, President Akufo-Addo stressed, provides the best vehicle for the world to manage its many varied problems, adding that “we would undermine its credibility and fail in our duty if we do not reform the United Nations. We dare not let ourselves and future generations down. The time for reform has come.” President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, 21st September, 2017, when he delivered his address at the 72nd Session of the United General Assembly, currently ongoing at New York.  In talking about sustainable relations, the President noted that Africa, and, indeed, Ghana, remains committed to remaining a nuclear weapon-free continent. It is for this reason, he said, that three weeks ago, highly-enriched uranium was flown out of Ghana back to China, signalling the end of the removal of all such material from the country. “Our nuclear reactor has, subsequently, been converted to use low-enriched fuel for power generation. A world, free of nuclear weapons, must be in all our collective interest,” he added.  President Akufo-Addo reaffirmed Ghana’s commitment to maintaining friendly and cordial relations with all the countries and peoples of the world. “The full engagement of Ghana, through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in the process of West African integration, and through the African Union (AU), in the process of African integration, remains a goal of my government. Regional and continental integration are in Ghana’s interest, as they represent one of the surest ways towards establishing the conditions for prosperity in our region and on the continent in the decades ahead, as well as helping to ensure peace and security and combating the scourges of terrorism, extremism and intolerance,” he noted. The conflicts that continue to plague our continent in Libya, South Sudan, Congo DRC, and Mali, the President said, would be more effectively resolved if the international community was to support, not undermine, the efforts of our regional and continental organisations to deal with them. President Akufo-Addo assured further that “Ghana will also continue to be active in the multilateral organisations to which we belong, such as La Francophonie, the Commonwealth of Nations, and this United Nations, because we believe multilateral action and international co-operation are in the interest of all of us.”

Government has taken note of the public discussions generated over the 2018 budget estimates of the Ministry for Special Development Initiatives. Whilst commending the interest shown by Members of Parliament, sections of the media, and citizens, in ensuring that the State is efficient in its expenditure, it is important, however, to reject the false claims by some that the Ministry’s budget intention is to misappropriate or misapply state funds in this case.

  1. The matter of the Actual appropriated amounts

The process of budget preparation requires initial estimates, setting of expenditure ceilings by the Ministry of Finance, and the passing of appropriated ceilings by Parliament. It is important to note that, in this case, the final Appropriations Bill, as passed by Parliament, has set forth the true picture, which is significantly different from the document in circulation. The Appropriated Bill is available on the Ministry of Finance’s website. For example, regarding the Community Water Systems, ambulances and school facilities (including classroom blocks with ICT centres and other amenities), government notes that the projected costs as submitted by the Minister and approved by Parliament are within the market competitive range for such projects. For example, per the specification given the Ministry by the Ghana Ambulance Service, it costs between one hundred thousand and one hundred and fifty thousand United States Dollars to purchase one ambulance. The United States Dollar equivalent of what the Minister stated in the budget is 80,000 Dollars. The kind of water system that is envisaged under this programme has cost other institutions as much as GH¢167,000 to build. In any event, when the Development Authorities are in place, they will be responsible for the execution of these projects based on competitive pricing. The public will be better served if discussions on this matter are based on the official final appropriated amounts, which are those which bind the public purse.


  1. The matter of How much has been appropriated to the Ministry vrs How much is appropriated to the Development Authorities

The Development Authorities’ Bill (to be signed into law this week) empowers the development authorities to “co-ordinate the planning and implementation of integrated development activities at the constituency level for the realisation of the strategic goal of each development zone.” Each of the Development Authorities will have a a Governing Board that will be responsible for the approval of annual operatives plans and budget of the Authority and review the quarterly performance of the Authority, including statement of accounts of money’s disbursed from the funds of the Authority. The Minister for Special Development Initiatives therefore plays only a supervisory role over the Development Authorities and, thus, does not execute their projects and programmes directly. Accordingly, out of the over GH¢1 billion that is at issue, only GH¢1.5 million is available to the Ministry directly; the rest of the amount is only an appropriated ceiling made available in the 2018 Budget for the three Development Authorities to validate, properly budget with, plan and execute their on-ground projects, once established. The Development Authorities would be required by the Public Management and Financial Act (PFMA) to adhere to strict procedure as outlined by the law, and which aims to prevent wastage and dissipation of public funds.

  1. The matter of whether or not the Development Authorities Concept will amount to wasteful administrative expenditure

The establishment of the three Development Authorities is to ensure a bottom-up approach to development, which takes control of local development away from a central authority. With the establishment of the three development authorities, part of the yearly national allocation for capital expenditure, will be taken and directly allocated to all 275 constituencies across the country to be administered by the Development Authorities to ensure that the traditional inefficiencies of centralized capital expenditure is cured. The balance of GH¢1.198 billion has now been approved for the Authorities to develop projects with and expend accordingly commencing with the 2018 budget. The establishment of the Development Authorities to administer expenditure of the equivalent of $1 million per constituency was a specific manifesto commitment of the ruling New Patriotic Party, as amplified by several pronouncements of its presidential ticket in the 2016 election campaign, and government is determined to implement to the letter this vision which will ensure equitable distribution of amenities and opportunities to every community up and down the country.

  1. Protecting the Public Purse

Now that appropriation is complete, there are enough safeguards to ensure that value for money audits are conducted at each procurement stage when the Development Authorities are established and commence their work. The Public Financial Management Act requires processing such as issuance of commencement certificates (which require benchmarking of projected expenditures). The Procurement processes additionally require value for money assessments. The processes for releasing funds at the Finance Ministry since 2017, in strict accordance with the PFMA have been extremely diligent leading to huge savings to the public purse this year, a reason for which government has been accused for not spending enough. The processes will continue to remain extremely disciplined in 2018 and beyond, and are the ones that really determine how safe the public purse is.


  1. Conclusion

Whilst we acknowledge that such public scrutiny, especially of budgets, helps to ensure the protection of the public purse, we would urge, especially media practitioners, to focus on the official final appropriations, as well as what the actual processes are, including the inherent checks and safeguards therein. Sweeping statements and categorizations which are not informed by the actual official processes and amounts, will lead to flawed analysis, which is unhelpful to Ghanaian democracy.

Mustapha Abdul-Hamid
(Minister for Information)

African Heads of State at the ongoing Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, are considering proposals aimed at reforming the continental body, so as to make it more relevant to the needs and aspirations of the African peoples. At a retreat organized by the AU Commission for the Heads of State on Sunday, January 29, 2017, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, who was tasked by the 27th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly to lead the latest initiative to reform the continental organization, outlined a raft of initiatives to this end. Describing the AU as a “highly dysfunctional organization”, President Kagame, in his presentation, catalogued a wide-range of problems which have plagued the Union since its inception in July 2002 as the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) – the body which successfully led Africa's struggle against colonialism and apartheid. According to him, inadequate funding, a bloated AU Commission, a weak Pan-African Parliament, the lack of clear priorities and weak linkages between the AU and the Regional Economic Communities are among the challenges that have impeded the progress of the AU. These problems, he added, are making it difficult for the AU to implement decisions taken at its Summits. Consequently, the AU had become a mere bureaucracy that is largely “divorced” from the African citizenry. To make the AU more effective and efficient, President Paul Kagame proposed the outlining of clear priorities in areas that affect the continent, such as in peace and security, integration and good governance. He also called for a leaner organization that was structured around the priorities of the AU. His report also recommended that ways be found to make decisions taken at Summits binding on member states, without necessarily turning the AU Commission into a bureaucratic dictatorship. Another significant proposal by President Kagame is to give the Chairperson of the AU Commission the authority to appoint his or her own Deputy, so that appointees are more effectively supervised. This implied a review of the Constitutive Act in order to accommodate the structural and legal implications of the proposed reforms. At the end of President Kagame's presentation, it became obvious that what he and his team were calling for was a significant reform of the AU. In the discussions that ensued, all the speakers agreed on the need for reforming the AU, and making it more responsive as well as capable of meeting the aspirations of ordinary Africans. On his part, President Akufo-Addo welcomed the recommendations contained in the President Kagame's report and urged the Assembly to speed up the implementation of the proposals contained in his report. The President recalled that similar discussions had taken place in Accra when Ghana hosted the 9th Ordinary Session of the Assembly, and urged his colleague Heads of State to be genuinely interested and committed to the integration process of the African continent, stressing that unless the challenges facing the continental body are addressed honestly, then the proposed reforms would not make the desired impact.

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