Government must meet EC’s GH¢1.2bn budget – Bonsu-Amoah

Osei Bonsu-Amoah Chairman of Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation coommittee

Osei Bonsu-Amoah Chairman of Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation coommittee

The Chairman of Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation coommittee, Osei Bonsu-Amoah, has asked government to adequately resource the Electoral Commission to enable it conduct the upcoming elections effectively.

Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei, recently told the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs team that her outfit will require GH¢1.2 billion for the upcoming elections, but the amount approved by parliament is GH¢826 million.

According to he

r, government has already released GH¢693 million out of the earlier approved GH¢826 million as at the end of the second quarter.

But Mr. Bonsu-Amoah indicated that, it is proper for government to bridge the funding gap—by adding the additional GH¢374 million—so that the EC will be well-resourced and better positioned to conduct a successful election.

Parliament, last week, rejected amendments to change the election date to November after it failed to amass 184 votes needed to effect the historic change.But that, according to Mr. Bonsu-Amoah, will favour the EC to pursue its procurement while government finds the reminder of the money.

“I think the EC should be happy that they have one more month to prepare for the elections very well, pursue their procurement- the government too should have more time to find money for the EC so that they will prepare and buy everything they need to buy and even recruit the right people and train them. With that I believe nobody can say that the additional one month will not be helpful to the EC and the nation,” he told B&FT.

Some Members of Parliament have warned of possible dangers ahead of the December polls if government delays in the release of the entire election budget to the Electoral Commission.

Even though the commission has said it is ready for the election, many have questioned its preparedness considering it is yet to receive the entire GHc1.2 billion it budgeted for the exercise.

Deputy Finance Minister, Cassiel Ato Forson, told Parliament government is ready to release the remaining amount on a need basis.With barely five months to the crucial December 2016 polls, the EC has been undertaking various activities.

Among them is the re-registration of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) registrants whose names were deleted following a Supreme Court (SC) order and the exhibition of the voters’ register exercise which spans 21-days.

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