Prez must cut travels, staffers to rein in expenditure – Amoako Baah

President John Mahama must cut down travels and reduce the number of staffers at the Flagstaff house as part of measures to rein in expenditure, the Head of the Department of History and Political Science of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dr Richard Amoako Baah, has told Kafui Dey on morning starr.

Dr Baah’s suggestion follows revelations in a report of the Finance Committee of Parliament that the presidency overspent its budget for 2014 by more than Ghc40 million.

The House approved a ceiling of Ghc30,929,343 to the presidency, but the report said the Flagstaff House spent Ghc75,917,714 between January and September alone. An amount of Ghc44,989,371 was, therefore, overspent during the period.

The office of the Chief of Staff was allocated Ghc7,487,048 but spent Ghc48,811,722, meaning more than Gh¢41 million was overspent by the Chief of Staff’s Office.

Minority lawmakers raised an alarm on what they call excessive spending by the presidency.

The amount was spent out of a total of Ghc326.8 million allocated to Government machinery for the year 2014.

Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament, James Klutse Avedzi, explained to Parliament that the total amount allocated to government machinery is a combination of the original and supplementary budgets.

Avedzi said as of September, Ghc203 million, representing 62 percent of that budget had been spent.

Deputy Minority Leader Dominic Nitiwul, however, said if the office of the Chief of Staff alone overspent its budget by about Ghc41 million, then it means some critical aspects of Government machinery did not receive what they were meant to have received per the budget.

Condemning the overspending as “gross indiscipline”, Dr Baah said: “we should be pointing a finger at president. It is his department and that is what is bad about this whole thing. He should lead by example.”

“He should sit down in the beginning of the year when the budget comes up and make sure his office sticks with the budget allocation and that’s where he needs to cut, reduce the numbers, reduce the travels, all sorts of things…” Dr Baah advised.

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