A memo containing provisional supplementary budget estimates allegedly presented to cabinet by the Finance Minister for final approval but intercepted by the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) sparked heated debate in Parliament yesterday.
NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo, started the ‘fight’ when he brandished the so-called memo containing supplementary estimates he claimed was prepared by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.
He claimed the minister was requesting cabinet for further budget estimates for security related outfits like the Ministry for Defence and Ministry of the Interior but eventually the budget was reviewed considerably to deal with problems of the energy sector.
Mr Adongo then suggested that the Finance Minister wanted more money for those ministries for ‘chop, chop’ purposes.
The Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by the Minister of Planning and NPP MP for Wenchi, Prof George Gyan Baffour; Minister of Works and Housing and NPP MP for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea and the Minister of Communications and NPP MP for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, protested vehemently against the action of Mr. Adongo and requested the authenticity of the so-called memo.
According to them, a cabinet memo is confidential and so it is practically impossible for the NDC MP to have access to it.
They said the NDC MP must prove the authenticity of the document before he could make reference on the floor and subsequently asked the Speaker not to admit that document for debate purposes.
The First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, who was then presiding, called Mr. Adongo to table the document to verify its authenticity which the NDC MP did.
The First Deputy Speaker said if Mr Adongo had tabled the memo then its authenticity is not in doubt because it has become an official document of the House but if the Majority still insists on further proof of authenticity then the Minister of Finance, who was present during the debate and in whose name the document stood, should be made to prove the authenticity of the document.
He said he did not have any reason to reject that document, adding that if the Majority has any problem then they should be concerned about the lapses at the Ministry of Finance where the alleged memo could have emanated from.
Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, said the NDC must keep quiet on the supplementary estimates of GH6.3 billion because the request was made principally to deal with the legacy debt in the energy sector left by the previous NDC government.
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