Deputy Director of Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Franklin Oduro, says the Electoral Commission’s budget for the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections is high because there is a lot of manual work in the process.
He also notes that the repeated display of the voters’ register also has cost implications.
Dr Oduro, who is also Head of Research and Programmes at CDD-Ghana, was speaking Tuesday on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show.
The EC presented a budget of 1.7 billion Ghana cedis for the conduct of next year’s general polls but only 1.2 billion Ghana cedis was approved by Parliament.
However, the funds were slashed further to 826.8 million Ghana cedis due to a Finance Ministry ceiling on funds it can release for elections expenditure.
The 800 million Ghana cedis are still high compared to elections expenditure in countries such as the United Kingdom (UK). The UK spent about 690 million Ghana cedis in its last election.
Commenting on the matter on the Super Morning Show, Dr Oduro said the fact that a lot of the EC’s processes like printing and distributing ballot papers are manually done, they do add to logistical expenditure.
“I think overall it does appear that we may not be thinking, planning and spending with the mindset of value for money in the electoral process. We may be doing something we could do with less funding to achieve the same purpose,” Dr Oduro adds.
He however acknowledged the need to provide the Commission with the necessary logistics and funding to enable it conduct credible elections.
“We need to attach all the necessary importance and we need to provide all the necessary funding for our Electoral Commission to conduct free and fair elections especially in a political environment such as ours that is very polarized,” he said.
Already a member of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, is raising issues with what he says is the Commission’s lax attitude to calls to compile a credible register.
The NPP and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) say the current register is bloated and lacks credibility.
Although the EC has set up a committee on the matter, it has always maintained that lack of funds could joepardise the demand by NPP and the PPP for a new register.
Dr Oduro says although the EC must be allowed to operate without interference, its 2016 elections itinerary should be scrutinized to prune irrelevant spending.