……Wants ₵1.3billion For Three Day Tour Of Northern Region
Right on the heels of his extravagant trip to the United States in which he had carried along an entourage of 196 people to address the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations, President Akufo-Addo has started another wicked indulgence.
He has asked district Assemblies in the Northern Region to cough up a whopping Gh₵130, 000 (1.3billion old cedis) for the purpose of funding a three day tour of the region.
A letter to this effect has been furnished to all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Executives (MMDCEs) in the region.
Dated, the 29th of September, 2017, the letter which is signed by the Chief Director for the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC), Alhassan Issahaku, on behalf of Regional Minister, Salifu Saeed, serves notice that the money must be ready by today.
“His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana will undertake a 3 day tour of the region from 6th to 8th October, 2017.
“In the bid to put together the required arrangements for a successful tour, each Assembly is required to contribute an amount of Five Thousand Ghana Cedis (Ghc5, 000.00) payable by Monday, 2nd October.”
The letter then sirens the need for the cash as an emergency – “Please treat as urgent.”
There are a total of 26 district Assemblies in the Northern Region. An exaction of Ghc5, 000 per Assembly therefore means a total of Ghc130, 000 is what the President is asking from the Assemblies over the three day tour.
Questions have come up as to why the President would need a whopping 1.3billion old cedis to undertake just a three day tour of the Northern region, when his fuel, accommodation, feeding and even per diem have already been catered for by the state.
Again, there is wonder as to why the money will have to come from the Assemblies when President Akufo-Addo has already allocated an unprecedented Ghc1.5billion (150billion old cedis) to the Presidency.
This same President who is asking the Assemblies in the Northern region to fund a lavish tour for him also capped statutory allocations to the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) through the same budget that allocated the Ghc1.5billion to the Flagstaff House alone.
In March this year allocations to the eight statutory funds were capped at 25%. By this the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), and the Petroleum-Related Funds, have received allocations that do not exceed 25% of all government revenue.
Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, and the Road Fund, also share in this fate.
The Minority in Parliament, along with some Civil Society Groups have since criticized the policy as retrogressive to the operations of local assemblies whose allocations have reduced from 7.5 to 5 percent.
But the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, has maintained that the decision is necessary as it affords government some fiscal space to undertake other key economic policies outlined in the budget.
It is in spite of these austerities inflicted on Assemblies nationwide by the NPP government that the same government has turned round to demand that the Assemblies in the Northern region fund a tour for the President.
Meanwhile, the opposition National Democratic Congress has observed that the Presidency, which was allocated an unprecedented Ghc1.5billion for just this year alone, has been using the money to throw expensive state banquets.
“For a fact, the profligate expenditure that has surrounded all the wasteful state dinners, is not the best way of protecting the public purse.
”On the day of inauguration alone, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia Government spent lavishly on three separate and very expensive state banquets – and from that day, it has been lavish state banquet after lavish state banquet while innocent Ghanaians are dying on a daily basis because nurses who were given letters of employment by the NDC Government have been sacked by Akufo-Addo’s government under the guise that there is no money to pay their salaries.
”Is it not sheer callousness for the government to have money to be importing expensive dinner suits and bowties from the United Kingdom, Paris, and Italy, and be spending lavishly on state banquets, while innocent people die in our hospitals because there are not enough nurses to give medicare?
”For the information of President Akufo-Addo; Governance is not a tea party!!!” National Chairman of the NDC, Sir Kofi Portuphy had pointed out at a Press conference in June.
The Ghc1.5billion that President Akufo-Addo allocated to his office for 2017 alone is more than allocations that had been made to the same Presidency during the whole of the four year tenure of President Mahama.
In 2012 the office of government machinery had been allocated 236 million cedis; in 2013, 312 million; in 2014, 326 million and in 2015, 453 million. In total therefore, Ghc1.3billion had been allocated to the Presidency throughout the entirety of the four year tenure of the Mahama regime.
This is Ghc200million lower than the Ghc1.5billion that President Akufo-Addo allocated to the same office of government machinery for 2017 alone.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels