Accompany bills with fiscal impact assessment – Prof Baah-Boateng

Accra- Professor William Baah-Boateng, Head, Department of Economics, University of Ghana has called on Parliament to exercise its oversight role by ensuring that bills laid before the House were accompanied by fiscal and economic impact assessment.

According to him, such fiscal impact analysis would help the legislature to determine the effect of such proposal on the revenue and expenditure of government as well as its potential to generate employment for the people.

Professor Baah-Boateng made the call at a forum organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs at Parliament House.

The forum which was on the theme: Interrogating Parliament’s legislative power: A review of employment creation and fiscal impact analysis of legislations was attended by members of the Finance Committee, Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

Professor Baah-Boateng who made a presentation on the topic: The scrutiny of employment: Creating potentials of legislative proposals by the Parliament of Ghana stressed the need for Parliament to make the issues of sustainable employment a priority in its legislation since it is the main source of livelihood.

He explained that employment also influences the training and skill development, national stability and development.

He said even though Parliament most of the time is concern about the fiscal issues, growth and macro stability, but tend to overlook issues of employment.

Professor Baah-Boateng also charged Parliament to ensure that every government policy should be able to measure the direct, indirect and induced employment that could come out through legislation.

He explained that in every legislative action that the House undertakes there is an inherent employment activity.

Professor Godfred Alufar Bokpin, University of Ghana Business School who spoke on the topic: Fiscal Impact Analysis accompanying legislative proposals in Ghana; what is Parliament’s responsibility? indicated that Parliament has an obligation to optimised budget by marching national needs with available resources consistent with fiscal limit.

He argued that whenever a bill was coming to Parliament from the executive arm of government or a covered entity they should be accompanied by fiscal impact analysis to guide it.

He explained that if the bill was coming from a covered entity then the ministries must conduct the fiscal impact analysis to certify before it gets to parliament.

Prof Bokpin also applauded Parliament for the passage of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act, 2016, Act 921, which he described as significant for the harmonisation of legislative framework in managing public funds.

According to him the PFM is a big credit to the Members of Parliament (MP) for what they did in 2016.

Something significant happened in this country in 2016, in terms of how we harmonised the legislative framework when it comes to managing public funds. The PFM Act, I think is a big credit to our MPs to what we did in 2016 he added.

Prof Bokpin also explained that the PFM Act had many things beyond what they had before and bringing various pieces together in one framework.

He said the importance of the fiscal impact analysis was to strengthen the key objective of the PFM Act in terms fiscal policy formulation and implementation, budget efficiency, prudent debt management, transparency, accountability and also to improve macro fiscal policy formulation and especially its implementation.

Dr Evans Aggrey Darkoh, Chief Director, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA) in his remark stated that the ministry’s engagement with the two Committees of Parliament was to interrogate the legislative power of Parliament by using the fiscal impact assessment accompanying bills and the employment creating capacity as case study.

He said the view was to identify both formal and informal factors that impact on parliament in carrying out effective scrutiny of these legislative proposals.

Dr Darkoh also stated the programme seeks to examine the potency of the legislative power of Parliament and to discuss House’s power in relation to the examination of fiscal impact assessment of legislative proposals.

He said the intention is to review the responsibilities of Parliament by ensuring that legislative proposals give due consideration to employment creation.

He said goal is to outline formal and informal influences that impact these powers of government and provide recommendations to improve legislative functions of parliament.

Source: Ghana News Agency