The Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has put forward 10 patriotic alternatives to government cashing-in on the Heritage Fund to combat the Coronavirus outbreak.
His suggestions put forward in a Facebook post came hours after the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta called for the amendment of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) to allow government to utilize portions of the Heritage Fund to combat the pandemic.
“Amend the PRMA to allow a withdrawal from the Ghana Heritage Fund to undertake emergency expenditures in periods of national emergency. There is an estimated US$591.1 million in the Ghana Heritage Fund,” the Finance Minister told Parliament on Monday.
“Mr. Speaker… Since we are faced with extraordinary circumstances which require extraordinary measures, we would like to propose the following measures for the consideration and support of the House – Lower the cap on the Ghana Stabilisation Fund (GSF) from the current US$300 million to US$100 million in accordance with Section 23 (3) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA).”
“This measure will enable the excess amount in the GSF account over the US$100 million cap to be transferred into the Contingency Fund, consistent with Section 23 (4) of the PRMA. The amount transferred into the Contingency Fund will be used to fund the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP). Through this process, an estimated GHȼ1,250 million will be transferred into the Contingency Fund to Fund the CAP. Mr. Speaker, we therefore wish to seek approval from this August House for the Finance Minister to use the Funds which will be available in the Contingency Fund to fund the Coronavirus Alleviation Programm,” the Finance Minister said.
However, the MP, among others wants a 50% pay cut for all political office holders and a reduction in the number of Ministers and Presidential Staffers which could provide the funds required during the pandemic.
Mr Ablakwa also called for the suspension of all ex-gratia payments, the closure of some redundant ministries and the laying-off of all Personal/Special Assistants to Ministers and Presidential Staffers.
He also wants the interim closure of at least 50% of our diplomatic missions abroad and the recall staff to Accra as well as the cancellation of contracts of all consultants in the public sector.
Mr Ablakwa says all prestige projects which can wait including the national cathedral, marine drive project, new passport office and the regional coordinating council offices for the six new regions should be halted as well as the suspension of the phenomenon of free fuel for some public servants.
Read his entire post below;
After listening to the Hon. Finance Minister in Parliament earlier today justify the need to use the heritage fund in the fight against COVID-19, I shall humbly submit that before the Akufo-Addo administration depletes the heritage fund reserved for the next generation, we first consider the following 10 suggestions:
1) 50% pay cut for all political office holders;
2) Reduce by 60% the number of Ministers and Presidential Staffers;
3) Close and realign many of the Ministries which would become redundant after the ministerial downsizing;
4) Lay off all Personal/Special Assistants to Ministers and Presidential Staffers;
5) Suspend all Ex-Gratia payments;
6) Interim closure of at least 50% of our diplomatic missions abroad and recall staff to Accra;
7) Cancel contracts of all consultants in the public sector;
8)Put a freeze on all prestige projects which can wait including the national cathedral, marine drive project, new passport office and the regional coordinating council offices for the six new regions;
9) Suspend the phenomenon of free fuel for the category of public servants who benefit;
10) Repeal all tax waivers granted in recent years for non-essential services and commodities with the view to abolishing the practice moving forward.
If we muster the political will to do these, the heritage fund will most likely be left intact for our children.
May the generation that will come after us not be disappointed that we bequeathed them with virtually nothing because we refused to sacrifice and consider other patriotic options in this watershed period of history.
Source: Daily Graphic
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