One of the agencies, the Ghana Prisons Service, expressed concern at a mid-year performance review meeting that only GH¢81.74 million out of its GH¢198.75 million approved budget had been released, leaving a variance of GH¢117 million.
In a presentation, the Head of Budget of the Ghana Prisons Service, Superintendent George Ankamah, said between January and June this year, the service paid the rent of more than 2,000 officers living in private accommodations, following the passage of the Ghana Prisons Service Regulation Bill, 2016.
Additionally, he said, the service submitted a Non-Custodial Sentencing Bill to Parliament through the Attorney-General’s Department for consideration in a move to decongest the prisons across the country.
The prisons officer added that the service received a commencement certificate of GH¢200,000 for the procurement of multi-purpose photocopying machines and building materials for its headquarters extension project.
He indicated that vigorous skills training and classroom instructions were currently ongoing in a number of prisons to prepare 305 inmates for examinations for vocational, junior and senior high school certificates.
On the challenges facing the service, Superintendent Ankamah bemoaned the inability of the service to pay medical and inmates’ ration bills saying the service had been in arrears for the past 11 months.
He pegged the total indebtedness of the service at GH¢43.17 million and expressed worry about the irregular review of prisoners’ daily feeding rate which currently stood at GH¢1.80.
Police and NACOB
The Director-General of Research, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of the Ghana Police Service, Commissioner of Police (COP) Osabarima Oware Asare Pinkro III, also in a presentation said the Police Administration had trained 36,000 people to strengthen community policing.
He stated that the police had intensified marine patrols and carried out regular snap checks on the major highways in the country to prevent armed robbery and other crimes.
Taking his turn, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board, Mr Michael Addo, said the board recorded nine drug cases in the first quarter of the year and made 15 arrests, with one successful prosecution.
Mr Addo complained about the board’s indebtedness to the Electricity Company of Ghana and the Ghana Standards Authority, which stood at GH¢800,000.
He stated that the board expected GH¢3.33 million for the remaining months of the year to execute its mandate.
Why mid-year review?
The Deputy Minister for the Interior, Mr Henry Quartey, who opened the meeting said the review was mandatory under the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
“This performance review is relevant because it will help each and every one of us gathered to think through and become more familiar with the agencies of the sector, programmes that need improvement and those that are working well,” the deputy minister said.
He stressed the need for a constant guage of the sector’s performance, feedback to see if the sector was on track, noting that the review meeting could, only work if follow-ups were done throughout the remaining period of the year.
The Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Refugee Board, the Ghana National Fire Service, the National Peace Council, the National Commission on Small Arms and the National Disaster Management Organisation also made presentations.