Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Friday March 09, 2018
It has emerged that critical electoral activities being embarked upon by the Electoral Commission (EC) have been put on hold.
It follows a decision by the chairperson of the commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, to wait for official approval from the Ministry of Finance before authorizing any expenditure on electoral activities in the country.
Her decision comes in the wake of demands by Alhaji Amadu Suley - her deputy in-charge of Operations - to the effect that he had not been given any budget for the electoral activities as was the case previously.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that on March 2, 2018, Mr. Amadu Suley wrote a memo entitled, ‘Performance of our statutory functions’ to Mrs. Charlotte Osei requesting for the budget or initiate any discussion on electoral matters.
The chairperson responded in a memo dated March 5, 2018, reminding her deputy that the new financial rules which came into effect on August 26, 2016, does not allow the commission to embark on any expenditure before seeking approval from the ministry.
Explaining her position, Mrs. Charlotte Osei indicated, “Let me point out that before the inception of the GIFMIS system, government budgeting was prepared using the activity-based method. In that system, all processes were done manually with very minimal control.”
She pointed out, “Currently, with the GIFMIS system in place, government budgeting is now strictly programme-based. This means that no public institution can incur expenditure when it is not budgeted for in its appropriation approved by parliament.”
According to the EC boss, the staff at the commission’s finance department had been “engaging the officials of the ministry of finance towards resolving the issue of critical electoral activities” which are not captured in the commission’s approved budget.
“It is important that in line with the law, that we allow the ministry to resolve this issue, ie change of use of budget, must have prior approval of the ministry of finance,” she emphasized.
She drew the attention of the deputy commissioner to the provisions of the Public Financial Management Act of 2016 (Act 921).
She said, “It is my considered view that it is prudent for me in my capacity as chairperson, to ensure that all our expenditure is in line with the law.”
Mrs. Charlotte Osei pointed out that despite Amadu Sule’s “seeming concerns as deputy chair, Operation,” in his memo, she neither received a single memo from him, requesting a budget for electoral activities.
“Whilst you have raised pertinent laws that enjoin us to conduct important elections in line with our constitutional mandate, let us be mindful of other laws which require our compliance – notably, the Public Financial Management Act of 2016 (Act 921), in carrying out our constitutional mandate,” she said.