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Defence Ministry On Fuel Borrowing Spree   
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The Living conditions of the Ghana Armed Forces look precarious as it has come to light that the military was borrowing to feed and buy fuel among other things during the 2014 fiscal year due to budgetary constraints.

According to Major (rt.) Derek Oduro, Member of Parliament for Nkoranza North, the military, has, over the period credited fuel and food and noted that the situation was not good for the security of the country.

Contributing to a motion to approve the 2015 budget estimate of the Ministry of Defense, the retired Army Officer said the military had also not been able to clear its goods from the harbour due to delay in release of funds from the Finance Ministry.

Major Oduro explained that these issues came to light when Senior Officers of the Military High Command appeared before the Defense and Interior Committee of the House during the consideration of the estimates and noted that officers out of service were also waiting to receive their gratuities including other outstanding payments.

He, thus, urged the Finance Ministry to release funds to the Ministry of Defense on time to help meet its demands and boost morale of the officers to protect the country.

The committee in its report also observed that the ministry will be confronted with serious challenges in implementing its planned programs and projects for 2015 and added that “the low budgetary allocation will adversely affect operations and have negative long-term effects on its capacity and readiness to effectively respond in crisis situation.”

It added that the current level of budgetary allocation would not permit the ministry to buy enough ammunition, food and other logistics to hold regular training sessions for the military.

The committee also noted that, there was undue delay in the release of funds for implementation of programs and for payments of food, fuel, goods and services taken on credit, adding that the “time lag between the release of funds and the actual crediting accounts leads to losses, especially where foreign exchange components are involved.”

It was also observed that the non-release of funds adversely affected the upgrading of facilities, routine maintenance and running of existing equipment and has thus prevented the completion of on-going projects, including housing.

Also, “there are indications that the ministry will need GHC40,712,000.00 extra budgetary allocation to procure ship and aviation fuel, as well as fuel for land forces to operate, GHC11,060,000.00 for utilities and GHC25,701,200.00 for custom clearing charges.”

Presenting the committee's report, Chairman of the Committee, Fritz Baffour said the Defense Ministry was confronted with a number of challenges in implementing its programs, projects and general operations during the financial year 2014 due to budgetary constraints.

Mr. Baffour said “low budgetary ceiling for goods and services and non-financial assets adversely affected the routine maintenance, running of equipment, upgrading of some facilities and the completion of on-going housing projects.”

On the outlook for 2015, the committee's report said the ministry would not take for granted, the peace that currently exists in the country. “It intends to step up its effectiveness and operational readiness for continuous maintenance of territorial peace and security.”

The report added that the ministry in accordance with the Programme-Based budgeting intends to undertake three major programmes with 14 sub-programmes in 2015, for which a total of GHC880, 461, 222.00 has been allocated.

The programmes, the report said are management and administration which includes initiation, formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of defense policies to ensure national cohesion and territorial integrity; Ghana Armed Forces which will “defend the territorial integrity of Ghana by land, sea and air against internal and external aggression” and Armed forces capacity building.

The House finally approved an amount of GHC880, 461,222.00 for the Defense Ministry for the financial year ending December 31, 2015.
Source: Daily Heritage

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