A budgetary allocation of GH₵147,529,298.00 to the Ministry of Works and Housing to cover its operational cost for the year 2020 has infuriated the anger of Members of Parliament (MPs) with some demanding a return of the annual estimates to the Ministry of Finance for a top up.

The Works and Housing Committee of Parliament that considered the annual estimates of the Ministry of Works and Housing had earlier appealed in its report to the Ministry of Finance, to come to the aid of the Ministry of Works and Housing to enable it settle its outstanding financial commitments to contractors.

For the 2020 fiscal year, the Ministry was allocated GH₵147,529,298.00 for the implementation of its planned activities. This comprises of a Government of Ghana (GoG) component of GH₵16,445,812.00 to be expended on Employee compensation (wages and salaries) and goods and services.

The Internally Generated Funds (IGF) component of which is also expected to be expended on goods and services amounts to GH₵364,786.00, with GH₵120,000,000.00 being the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).

An amount of GH₵10,718,700.00 has been captured in the annual budget estimates as being Development Partners’ component to support capital expenditure.

Out of these amounts, GH₵8,548,860.00 has been projected to be expended on Management and Administration whilst GH₵27,931,586.00 is expended on Human Settlement and Development.

An amount of GH₵16,758,961.00 is expected to be expended on Housing Sector Management, GH₵5,910,854.00 on Urban Housing Management, GH₵1,479,900.00 on Rural Housing Management and GH₵3,781,871.00 on Management of Public Construction.

Additionally, an amount of GH₵111,048,852.00 is expected to be expended on Infrastructure Management whilst GH₵47,474,928.00 will cover Works Sector Management.

GH₵8,765,001.00 was budgeted for General Maintenance Management, GH₵21,283,923 for drainage Management, GH₵33,500,000.00 for Coastal Management with the remaining GH₵25,000.00 covering Operational Hydrology.

The GH₵147,529,298.00 budgetary allocation, www.kasapafmonline.com understands, represent about 10% of the amount the Ministry of Works and Housing requested for its 2020 fiscal year activities.

The Ministry, according to the Works and Housing Committee, had made a request of GH₵1,423,000,000.00 out of which it had earmarked GH₵523,900.00 for flood control, GH₵600,000,000.00, GH₵220,000,000.00 Security Services Housing and GH₵79,100,000.00 for other programmes.

The Works and Housing Committee chaired by Nana Amoako, in presenting its report to the plenary for consideration and adoption, lamented over the acute budget situation of the Ministry of Works and Housing.

He told the House that the situation has culminated in a problem resolving approach (fire-fighting) instead of a holistic approach that could fully deal with the various challenges that confront the sector.

“The Committee is of the view of that the planned programmes of the Ministry are very critical to the development agenda of the country, especially, in the pursuit and attainment of Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, the Ministry’s Human Settlement Programme detailed to roll out a number of housing projects aimed at reducing the housing deficit of the country would seriously be undermined with this meagre allocation”, he noted.

He added that considering the heavy capital requirement of the planned programmes and the fact that they cover important social infrastructure facilities which are critical for the socio-economic development of the country, it would require additional resources outside the budgetary allocation in order to meet expectations.

NDC MP for Chiana-Paga and a member of the Works and Housing Committee, Rudolf Nsorwine Amenga-Etego, commenting on the situation said low budgetary allocation for the Ministry indicates that the government is not prioritizing the Works and Housing Ministry.

“In as much as we have sympathy for the minister, the estimates that we are being called upon to approve are so far inadequate that they don’ deserve our approval. They should be sent back for a second look and then more adequate figures should be brought for our consideration”, he lamented.

The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, who presided over the sitting was equally not happy with the budgetary allocation to the Works and Housing Ministry.

“We’ve just celebrated fundamental human rights today and shelter is one of them. Apart from air, water, food, clothing, the next is shelter. It is so key but truly the budget allocation to the Ministry is completely next to nothing”, he said.

Hon. Bagbin was once a Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing in the previous government.