Out of this amount, GH¢1.2 billion has been allocated to the Scholarship Secretariat and GH¢218.3 million to the National Identification Authority (NIA).
The Office of the Senior Minister was also absorbed under the Government Machinery with the previous budget of GH¢6.1 million now upheld for him (Senior Minister).
Office of the Chief of Staff has been allocated GH¢292 million; the Vice President’s Office given GH¢22.5 million and the cabinet secretariat gets GH¢6.5 million.
Presenting the Finance Committee’s report on the estimates yesterday for approval, chairman of the committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, said under the Office of the President, the Peduase Lodge at Kitase and six other lodges at Cantonments would be rehabilitated in 2018.
He said in addition to that, the Black Star Square and the State Banquet Hall would also be rehabilitated.
According to the Finance Committee, the Office would deepen the institutionalization of monitoring and evaluation of government policies and programmes, particularly the ‘one district, one factory’ and the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP).
“The Office of the President will procure the requisite logistics for smooth running of the office,” Dr Assibey-Yeboah said, adding that the presidency would also train and upgrade staff.
He said the Office of the Senior Minister (OSM) would put in place measures to re-orient the current structures, systems, processes and internal management functions to provide modernized and timely services to the populace and the private sector.
“The OSM will assist the National Identification Authority to site mobile registration workstations and registration officers at all government birth centres for registration of eligible persons aged zero to 14 years,” he indicated.
According to Dr Assibey-Yeboah, the OSM would also implement a programme to review, streamline, revamp and regulate the implementation of the Client Service Charter and the Client Service Unit initiatives to further promote efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in public service delivery.
He said the Scholarship Secretariat would now be implementing the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme.
According to him, the Scholarship Secretariat was chosen because of its track record in the management of scholarships on behalf of the state over the years.
He said the programme would be financed from GoG sources with GH¢681.9 million, while GH¢455.9 million would be coming from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) of oil money.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah indicated that under the Microfinance and Small Loans Cenre (MASLOC), 150 Chevy Aveo Saloon cars would be procured at a total cost of GH¢11.2 million, 100 Chevy Sparklite vehicles at GH¢6.5 million and 100 33-seater Isuzu buses at a total cost of GH¢44.5 million.
The minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) members, led by the ranking member on the Finance Committee, Ato Forson, were not happy that a whopping GH¢1.9 billion had been budgeted for the Office of the President, with GH¢100 million being used to rehabilitate the Peduase and other lodges.
The majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, argued that the real money for the Office of the President is less than GH¢600 million and that the Scholarship Secretariat, the National Identification Authority and the Office of the Senior Minister together are getting about GH¢1.3 billion.
He said that the Office of the President, under Nana Akufo-Addo, is getting about GH¢600 million in 2018, while the former president, John Mahama, was allocated GH¢718 million in 2016.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr