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Ofori-Atta fights back after accused of overstepping boundary with 2018 budget

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has dismissed claims by the Minority in parliament that the 2018 budget statement is illegal.

He said he presented the 2018 Fiscal Year Budget in accordance with the law.

“...it appears to me that members on the Minority side have their interpretation of how a revised budget outlook should be presented,” he said in Parliament Tuesday.   

The Minority has said the figures contained in the budget were in the 2017 mid-term budget review, which was not approved by the House.

This they say constitutes a breach of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act.

Parliament approved the budget statement Tuesday, ahead of the approval of the appropriations bill next two weeks.

Closing the debate on the 2018 budget statement, Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu accused the minister of overstepping his authority.

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Haruna Iddrisu and members of the Minority

“…Minister, you overstepped your authority in reversing these numbers. When you came to Parliament you said you came for information purposes, therefore if you now have a revised budget, on whose authority was that?” he quizzed.

“When you come for mid-year review and you want to revise numbers you come by section 28 and 29 for supplementary estimates for a resolution of this house.

“You don’t have the resolution of Parliament, you can use your numbers and have your way but respect the laws and Constitution of Ghana,” the Tamale South MP said.

But Mr Ofori-Atta says he did nothing wrong arguing that the PFM Act of 2016 stipulates in section 28 that the Finance Minister is expected to provide:

“A presentation of a revised budget for the unexpired term of the financial year and the implications of the revised budget are for the medium-term fiscal and expenditure framework if necessary.” 

The Finance Minister said as the Ministry is going by the PFM Act for the first time it welcomes the input of both sides of the House.