Parliament approves budget for Presidency, Council of State; Minority raises concerns


Parliament has approved 2.74 billion cedis for the services of the government machinery for next year. Government Machinery consists of the office of the  President and public organisations which fall outside sectoral responsibilities for which the office of the President exists to provide administrative, managerial and technical services.

They include the Council of State, Ghana Aids Commission, State Protocol, Scholarship Secretariat, and the Millennium Development Authority.

The Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Asiamah Amoako put the vote for the budget approval.

The approval however did not come without the Minority registering their deep concern over the high figures captured in the budget of the Office of Government Machinery,  OGM.  

Minority accuses
Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson

Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson said the increase in the allocation for next year compared to this year raised more questions than answers citing for instance the office of the President having a budget increase of over 100 percent.

He was alone as other members raised similar concerns stating that some bureaucracies created under the OGM were a duplication of the responsibility of existing State Agencies and so must be scraped.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament, Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, says he backs President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on his refusal to assent to two private member’s bills: the Witchcraft and Ghana Armed Forces Bills.

According to him, one key reason for agreeing with President Akufo-Addo not to assent to two bills is the financial toll the two bills will take on the already straggling economy of the country when they come into operation.

The President of the Republic of Ghana gave further reasons why he is unable to assent to the Criminal Offences Amendment and the Ghana Armed Forces Bills.

Speaking in an interview with the media, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, “I agree with the president on financial toll argument.”

In a letter addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, the President cited financial implications for the consolidated fund as one of the reasons for not signing the bills.

“Upon a thorough review of the relevant constitutional legislative frameworks, specifically Article 108 of the Constitution and Section 100 of the Public Financial Management Act 2016, Act 921, it is evident that the bill is introduced as private member’s bills by the Honourable Member of Parliament for Madina Constituency, Mr. Francis-Xavier Sosu do not conform with the provisions of the Constitution.

These bills which avoid the death penalty and criminalise the activities of witch doctors retain substantial financial obligations on the Consolidated Fund and other public funds of Ghana due to the projected cost related to imprisonment, sustenance, and healthcare for those who will be convicted under the days when they become law.

Therefore, in light of this significant fiscal impact, these bills should not have been introduced with the fiscal impact analysis. Access to such an analysis precludes these bills from being properly classified as private member’s bills. The legislative power entrusted to parliament comes with responsibilities to ensure that all enacted laws comply with the constitutional provisions safeguarding the nation’s fiscal integrity and avoiding the principles of governance.

Mr. Speaker, for the above reasons, I, in preserving the sanctity of the legislative process, refuse to assent to yours. I take this opportunity to reiterate my support for the contents of the bills and my intention for them to be reintroduced in Parliament on my behalf in due course. Yours sincerely, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,” the President stated in his letter to Parliament.

The President again raised constitutional matters regarding the Bill when he first informed Parliament of his inability to assent to the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2022.

In the letter he wrote to Parliament and read by the Speaker on Monday, December 4, 2023, President Akufo-Addo said, “I am writing to you about our meeting held on the 28th of November, 2023, at my office, where we discussed the outstanding bills presented for assent, namely the Criminal Offenses Amendment Bill 2023, Criminal Offences Amendment Number 2 Bill 2023, and the Armed Forces Amendment Bill 2023.

During our conversation, I raised specific constitutional concerns regarding these bills related to Article 108 of the Constitution, particularly the nature of these bills introduced into Parliament as private members’ bills rather than being presented by me or on my behalf….

As I indicated, the content of these bills has my support, but we need to ensure that they are enacted in line with established constitutional and legislative processes. After thorough consideration and in light of the constitutional issue I pointed out during our meeting, I am unable to assent to these bills.

The concerns raised are significant and have profound implications for the constitutional integrity of these legislative actions. Any legislation we pass must be in complete alignment with the provisions of our Constitution. I intend to have these bills reintroduced in Parliament on my behalf in due course.”

Parliament passed the bills on Tuesday, July 25, 2023.