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General News Mon, 26 Nov 2007

CBA commends public account committee

Accra, Nov. 26, GNA - The Centre for Budget Advocacy (CBA), on Monday commended Parliament's Public Account Committee (PAC) for publicly scrutinising state expenditure and exposing corrupt practices of public office holders.

The CBA also commended Ghana's development partners, especially the British Government for funding the public hearing of the Audit report for the first time in the country and called on parliament and the other relevant agencies to ensure that the recommendations in the Audit Reports were implemented.

The CBA stated at a news conference on the Governments 2008 fiscal budget policy submitted to Parliament on November 16 where the centre highlighted its reservation about the budget. Mr. Nicholas Adamtey, Acting CBA Co-ordinator commended government for setting up the Northern Development Fund, but called for broader policy to include equally deprived areas of the country. The CBA suggested to Government to constitute a wider consultation on how to address the geographical imbalances in the national development, including financing, strategy and time frame for achieving some semblance of parity in the levels of development across the ten regions of Ghana.

CBA said beyond the need for infrastructural transformation, other challenges that must find expression in the strategy document are livelihood opportunities and security, affordable access to credit, market access and transformation of agricultural sector, which is the pre-occupation of the people of northern Ghana.

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On the agricultural sector CBA noted that its overall contribution to the GDP had been reducing over the years from 36 percent in 2005 through 35.4 percent in 2006 to 34.7 percent in 2007. The trend according to CBA is an indication the incomes of majority of our people in the agricultural sector who are also the poorest of the population have been declining over the years.

The CBA said the 2008 budget allocation to the Ministry of Agriculture as a percent of the total discretionary is only 1.7 percent, way below the African Union commitment of ten percent GDP to the sector. "We find the situation rather unfortunate and challenge the government to live up to its pledge in other to stop lip services to the development of Agriculture," the CBA stated.

The CBA also expressed concern about health, water, housing, education, roads and transport sectors, the youth policy and other essential services.

Source: GNA
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