Finance Minister Seth Terkper has made some proposals to the incoming Nana Akufo-Addo administration to consider setting up a fund to finance the 2020 general elections ahead of time.
According to him, such a move will reduce the financial pressure that government faces in an election year, since election expenditure is financially intensive.
Speaking to journalists in Accra, Mr. Terkper who disclosed that he has already made the proposal to the transition team explained that, the out-going government had to start planning for the 2016 election expenditure at the beginning of the year to enable its smooth execution.
“The expenditure was incorporated in the targets that was set for 2016 even though they were extra ordinary if you compare the Electoral Commission (EC) budget with an election year with a non election year, you will agree with me that the election year budget will be higher,” he said.
He stated that the inability to set aside funds to executive such financially intensive programmes was the cause of overspending and sometimes, under-spending which may affect the quality of the elections.
“The point I made was that there was no dispensation for the fact that it was an election year compared to last year which wasn’t an election year so the two budgets would be different,” he stressed.
“May be the lesson will be for the country to make provision of an annual basis through the four years in meeting certain expenditures and setting aside some funds so that we do not load a single year on total expenditure for conducting an election,” he added.
Touching on how that would improve election financing, Mr. Terkper stated that it will also help any government in power to adequately finance the district assembly elections that is held every two years.
“May be that will be a better or an improvement to the way we finance our elections. And in between there is the district elections so at least we have two year cycle”.
“We need to plan around these things. This year we planned to do the releases for the election based on the calendar that was prepared right from the beginning of the year, beginning with capital expenditure like the equipment that we saw,” he noted.
He disclosed that government released the funds upfront and early so that the EC can procure its equipment ahead of time.
“We did not put the expenditure close to the actual date of the election and then do a programme which we did with the EC for training and others closer to the elections and then in between we did releases for materials for printing and others”.
“The phenomenon used to be to push heavily sometimes up to 80 percent very close to the conduct of the elections . But I am suggesting that instead of taking an annual view as we did with the EC this year may be we should take a four-year view,” he suggested.