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Government accused of allocating GHS6m to NPP communicators in 2020 budget

A budget line in the 2020 Budget has come under scrutiny as being a possible tool to fund New Patriotic Party (NPP) communicators.

The issue was first raised by the Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Agriculture, Food and Cocoa Affairs, Eric Opoku, on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday.

He noted that there was a GHS6 million allocation to Government Communication in the budget under the section for expenditure under Government flagship programmes.

In his submission, Mr. Opoku said more clarity was needed on that budget line.

“Mr. Speaker that programme is to cost the Ghanaian taxpayer GHS6 million. Information on this programme is scanty in the budget and to erase the impression that in an election year, the government intends using state resources to pay NPP communicators, we demand further and better particulars.”

Speaking on Eyewitness News, later on, the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George said he was convinced the government was taking taxpayer money and putting it into “partisan affairs.”

He argued that the various flagship policies already had funding for communications.

“Almost all of these flagship programmes have a secretariat and those secretariats have spokespersons… again they have sectorial spokespersons.”

But a Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide, however, defended the budget line as necessary to the government’s communication strategy.

Also speaking on Eyewitness News, he said the money was in service of “an open and transparent government system.”

“The instructiosn of His Excellency are that the Ministry of Information, which has the mandate of informing the people of Ghana on the projects, programmes and policies of government… we have to pay particular attention to educating the people about the far reaching implications of these [flagship] policies with the view that we can carry the people with the government.”

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