The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament on Tuesday raised serious concerns about how an original cost of preparing a Land Bill and Land Use and Planning Bill by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources shot up from $196,000 to $816,883, increasing expenditure by 317%.
The committee members were even more worried about the fact that despite the huge expenditure on the two bills, they (bills) were presented to parliament after they were supposed to have been completed in 2008.
Dr Benjamin Quaye, project coordinator of the Land Administration Project Unit of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, told the committee that the cost increased because the ministry contracted a legal specialist who was paid $244,347 over the period of the project.
He said other experts, like communication and gender specialists, were contracted under World Bank’s instruction since the money came from that institution; and they were all paid thus, shooting up the cost.
According to the project coordinator, other things like securing office equipment, investing in capacity building and organizing regional fora on the bills contributed to the increase in expenditure.
The committee members requested for details of that expenditure, including specific expenses.
When the ranking member of the committee, Alhaji Ibrahim Dey Abubakar, asked the officials from the ministry whether failing to present those two important bills to parliament for ratification did not amount to causing financial loss to the state since the process would have to be started again, Dr Benjamin Quaye explained that sponsorship came to an end at the time phase one of the project had been completed and that they would only need to complete the second phase with an additional funding.
BY Thomas Fosu Jnr