The Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee of Parliament has called on the government, especially the Ministry of Finance to consider involving the committee in the preparation and presentation of annual budgetary allocation to the Metropolitan, Municipals, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country.
According to the Committee, it is not enough for the government to always engaged the Finance Committee of Parliament, leaving behind the poverty reduction strategy committee whose oversight responsibility encompasses all the Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), and the MMDAs.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon Benson Tongo Baba, made the call at a two-day Data Accountability Project (DAP) workshop for members of the Committee organized by the Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) in partnership with Ghana Statistical Services (GSS), INASP and Parliament of Ghana in Accra.
He told EXPRESSNEWSGHANA after the workshop, the poverty reduction strategy committee would scrutinize the 2023 budgets and demand accountability from agencies that were allocated funding for poverty reduction initiatives in the country.
The Committee Chairman lamented that most of the MMDAs are been deprived of the necessary resources, especially in poverty-endowed districts where resources are much needed, pointing out that poverty to a large extent could pose insecurity and unrest in a country.
Mr. B.T Baba who is also MP for Talensi said, MPs from poverty-endowed constituencies like him spend many resources to help fight poverty through the provision of some projects and programs which, in his view should have been the doing of the central government through the assemblies.
He however stressed the need for national budgets to be more pro-poor and pro-growth to reduce poverty, adding that evidence available thus far suggests that the composition of budgeted and actual public spending is not shifting towards poverty-reducing activities.
He called on the government to as a matter of necessity engage the Committee for their input in every budget preparation to achieve Sustainable Development Goal one to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
The Committee, he noted would work tirelessly to ensure that poverty is reduced in the country and threatened to haul agencies that fail to appear before the committee for purposes of accountability to the Speaker of Parliament for appropriate sanctions.
He commended ACEPA for the opportunity for them to share their \views and also learn how the MMDAs and other agencies perform and the policy directions.
Other members of the committee shared similar sentiments and called on the government to resourced highly impoverished MMDAs to help address the issues of poverty and inequality in their constituencies.
Hon Lydia Lamisi Akanvariba, MP for Tempane said the government must take steps to improve and resource for MMDAs programs on poverty-reducing expenditures and improve the efficiency and targeting of the deprived communities.
Dr. Kingsley Nyarko, MP for Kwadaso commended ACEPA for organizing the workshop which in his view would help most of them as MPs enhance their contribution to debates on the floor of parliament.
He said poverty in whatever form remained a hindrance to development and any nation that want to develop must first fight poverty for when the people are in good health then the nation is healthy.
Hon Vincent Oppong Asamoah, MP for Dormaa West said budgetary allocation to MMMDAs in rural constituencies is not enough, hence most of the assemblies relied on the MP’s common funds for support.
He said if Ghana is to make progress in the reduction of poverty and extreme hunger, then much resources are needed where poverty is endemic.
Some of the MPs who shared their views and expectation after the workshop appreciated the importance of credible and reliable data in their work in parliament and the constituencies.
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