The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has asked Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to stop coming to Parliament to nod his head when budget statements are being read and rather participate in the budget debate on the floor.
He said Article 111 of the 1992 Constitution gives the Vice-President the privilege to join in the budget debate on the floor of the House and proffer solutions to myriads of economic problems afflicting the country and making Ghanaians poorer and poorer.
According to the North Tongu MP, who is also the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Article 111 enjoins the Vice-President, ministers and deputy ministers who are not MPs to participate in parliamentary debates, with all privileges accorded MPs similarly extended to them during such debates but are not allowed to vote in the proceedings of the House.
“Mr. Speaker, Ghanaians are asking where is Dr Bawumia, the one who has the magic wand to fix the economic problems of the country; we have missed his lectures on the economy when he was the running mate,” he said stressing that the contribution of the Vice-President to the debate on the budget is highly needed.
Mr. Ablakwa threw the challenge to the Vice-President when he was contributing to the debate on the 2019 budget in Parliament on Wednesday.
The North Tongu MP went ahead to accuse the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government of doing little to fight corruption, which has assumed alarming proportion under the present government.
He wondered why only 12 people would have to be employed at the Office of the Special Prosecutor looking at the enormity of the work there which is an indication that the government is not committed to effectively fighting corruption in the country.
“Mr. Speaker, in the US, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has about 100 people working there and it ensures effective work,” he declared.
He also stated that the budgetary allocation for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in the 2019 budget has been slashed from GH¢32 million in 2018 to GH¢31 million which is also an indication that the present government is not prepared to fight corruption in the country.
The ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee also expressed worry about the intention of the government to increase presidential staffers from 998 to 1,614 as indicated in the 2019 budget statement which, according to him, is very high and must be reconsidered.
He also disclosed that the about GH¢400 million of oil money is being spent on procurement of food for the free SHS and the contracts are given to party people who are pocketing the money while educational infrastructure is in shambles.
He asserted that the government promised in the 2018 budget to build 8,286 kindergarten schools but ended up building only 150.
He indicated that the government with the largest ministers and presidential staffers is hugely tainted with corruption and does not have the courage to fight it.