Speaker Orders Formation Of Joint Committee

The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, has directed the majority and minority chief whips to ensure the establishment of a joint committee for the preparation of a baseline report for one percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to be dedicated to the development of science and technology.

The two chief whips, Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh and Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, would have the mandate to develop modalities and present their report to parliament within a month.

The First Deputy Speaker gave the directive on Thursday after the Member of Parliament (MP) for Oforikrom, Dr. Emmanuel Marfo, made a statement on the floor of parliament on the topic, “Parliamentary Oversight Over Science and Technology Development in Ghana—A New Window For Action.”

He, however, indicated that the lack of inadequate resources to public research institutions has affected the development of science and technology since independence.

According to him, an analysis of the 2019 budget allocations using the 2018 GDP of some $51billion reveals the gravity of the challenge facing the sector.

“If we were to commit a one percent of GDP to research and science development, we should have allocated some GH₵2.3billion. If one takes the GoG budget allocation for MESTI from 2015 to 2019 as a proxy for R&D, government could be said to be achieving only 8.5% of the 1% GDP target and indeed using the entire Ministry’s budget will bring the figure to only 18%”

Despite the difficulties and challenges that government is facing, he also stated that there is no reliable data on the level of Ghana’s spending on R&D even to provide a basis for credible scientific analysis.

“As of today, the global spending on research and development stands at $1.7 trillion and only some 10 countries account for 80 percent of this,” Dr. Marfo added.

To this end, he proposed that a joint committee of environment, science and technology, finance and government assurances must deliberate to develop a framework and build consensus with the relevant stakeholders of R&D on financing elements of government’s budget.