- On April 30, 2018
- budget, George OseiBimpeh, Ghana Beyond Aid, Ministry of Finance, Philip Alston, SEND GHANA, United Nations
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United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Professor Philip Alston cited two SEND GHANA budget briefs in a statement published after his 10-day visit to Ghana.
Alston visited Ghana from April 9th to 18th at the invitation of the government to assess the status of poverty and human rights in the country.
He spoke with civil society groups, government officials, and people living in poverty in Greater Accra as well as the Northern and Upper East regions.
In his statement, Alston writes that he met with government ministers and deputy ministers to discuss identified challenges of inequality and low spending on social protection. However, his requests to meet with the Finance Ministry were refused.
“I worry that the fact that the Finance Ministry refused all of my requests to meet with even a single official during my ten day mission might be symptomatic of where its priorities lie.” – Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
Alston relied on two SEND GHANA briefs in the ‘Financing” section of his outline on how revenue could be raised to “lift millions out of poverty” and bring them into the economy, in addition to assessments published by the International Monetary Fund, UNICEF and the World Bank.
SEND GHANA’s 2018 budget brief on social protection and inequality was cited in an example about the Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW) program and “tenuous funding for social protection programs.”
Alston writes that in the 2017 budget, the government promised to undertake a total of 322 sub-projects in 60 districts, expected to employ 30,764 rural poor through 154 climate change interventions. However, SEND GHANA’s brief found that the 2018 budget did not include any information on LIPW or funding for the program.
A statistic in SEND GHANA’s 2018 budget brief on child protection was also cited by Alston – the fact that some 90% of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection’s goods and services spending is said to come from donor partners. Considering this fact, “the commitment to a Ghana Beyond Aid raises more questions than it answers,” writes Alston.
“Donor funds constitute an amount of GHC 21,990,690, which makes up more than one-third (36%) of the Ministry’s 2018 allocations. The same amount accounts for 90% of the total earmarked funds for the provision of goods and services. Government should explore ways of mobilising domestic revenue and allocate resources to support the provision of goods and services within the sector with particular attention to adequately resourcing the Departments of Social Welfare and Community Development at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies’ (MMDAs) level. Resourcing these institutions from domestic sources is key to providing sustainable funding to the sector.” – SEND GHANA 2018 Budget Brief: Child Protection
“The bottom line is that the policies being funded by the Finance Ministry are not those pertaining to social protection,” concludes Alston. “Many are significantly donor-funded, and in the age of Ghana Beyond Aid, that will become even less sustainable.”
After Alston’s statement was published, SEND GHANA Country Director George Osei-Bimpeh said SEND GHANA briefs are important monitoring tools for good governance.
“These briefs contain analysis of government’s responsiveness to citizens’ inputs into national, sector and district budgets,” said Osei-Bimpeh. “We analyse the levels and adequacy of projected funding and allocations, always keeping equity considerations in mind.”