The Electoral Commission (EC) has not yet received the full complement of funds it requested from the government for the general elections in November.
The EC had requested an amount of GH¢ 1.5 billion from the government to conduct the polls but the amount was reduced to GH¢ 1.2 billion
According to the Chairman of the Special Budget Committee in Parliament, Alban Bagbin, although an initial amount of GH¢826 million has been made available to the EC, the failure of government to provide the Commission the remaining amount with only six months until the polls might cause some logistical problems.
“We [Parliament] are able to reduce it to 1.2 which the Electoral Commission itself has accepted. The government made available in the budget over 800 million for the Electoral Commission and we are anticipating a supplementary budget which will be coming soon to the House to make up the gap between the over 800 million and the 1.2 million. But so far the release to the commission is still not proactive,” Alban Bagbin, who is also Majority Leader in Parliament, told Accra-based Citi FM in an interview.
There have been suggestions that given the number of problems facing the Commission ahead of the polls, the planned November 7 election date might not be feasible.
However, the EC has dismissed these claims and stated that it is ready for the elections on the set date.
A senior researcher at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Kwesi Jonah believes that the government has to find a solution to the recurring problems with the EC’s budgetary allocation.
“If they were far behind the first quarter, it means there are arrears for the first quarter that you have to pay. So if it happens that even the second quarter the tranche to be paid also falls short, it will affect the election.
“The EC will not be able to do everything that they want to do before the election. And I think that the time has come for government to take a second look at the way in which it disburses money to the EC. They should make it a very top priority. It should not happen that the EC could not do some things because the monies were not delivered on time,” he argued.
Meanwhile the EC has received some level of financial support from the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US) and the European Union (EU).
By: Edwin Kwakofi/ghanadecides