Prime News Ghana

Parliament approves EC's budget despite Minority's boycott

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh

The Minority in Parliament has staged a walkout during the Electoral Commission, EC's budget estimate debate on the floor of the House.

According to the Minority, the EC did not provide full details of the budget with respect to the breakdowns of the figures captured.

Speaking to Joy FM, MP for Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said there are a lot of gaps in the budget presented, he also added that they have on many occasions advised the EC not to go ahead with the compilation of a new voters' register few months to the general polls.

READ ALSO : Newvotersregister is unnecessary - NDC's Otokunor tells EC

He said the ECOWAS protocol advised that major electoral reforms should not be carried out in the year of elections. Okudzeto said during the district level elections he monitored the process and the system works perfectly.

The MP said the minority will not be part of the process to approve the budget of the EC for the said purpose.

But the majority with the numbers approved the EC's budget despite the minority's boycott.

READ ALSO : CODEO advises EC to dialogue with political parties over newvotersregister

EC submits budget for new voters' register

The Electoral Commission this week submitted its budget to Parliament detailing how much the commission wants to spend for the compilation of a new voters' register.

Excerpts of the document submitted to Parliament titled the ''Medium-Term Expenditure framework for 2020 -2023 and read on Joy FM indicated that ''The budget is in two parts, programme one 1 deals with Management and administration totalling over Ghc 300 million. Programme 2 deals with the demarcation of electoral boundaries will cost Ghc 1.2 million and compilation of voters register totalling Ghc 443,646,663.00. Conduct of elections is Ghc 287 842 511.00. Voter and electoral education Ghc 27 384 995.00''.

The EC has stated that the need for a new register has been necessitated by several factors, including the need to replace the outmoded biometric machines adding they want to have a more credible register to pave way for a smooth election.

The Commission categorically stated that ''though the current register is credible but has been over-stretched'', hence, the need for a new one with enhanced features to protect its credibility.

According to the EC, the system will use telecommunication companies as the backbone to transmit 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary election results.

However, the NDC is strongly opposed to the decision of the electoral commission to compile a new voters' register. Last week they walked out of a meeting together with other political parties boycotted the IPAC meeting convened by the EC for a demonstration on a new voters register. The other parties are the PNC, Egle party, APC and UFP.

Meanwhile, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) said there is a strong need for a consensus as to whether or not the country needs a new voters' register for the 2020 general elections.

Consequently, CODEO urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to dialogue with the political parties to be able to reach a consensus on the issue.