Parliament on Thursday approved GHC29,201,381 for activities of the Ministry of Information for 2012. Mr. John Tia Akologu, Minister of Information, moved the motion which was seconded by Mr Herod Cobbina, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sefwi Akontombra.
Institutions under the Ministry are, Information Services Department, Ghana News Agency, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, National Film and Television Institute, Ghana Publishing Corporation, New Times Corporation, Graphic Communications Group Limited and GAMA Films.
Mr Akologu said next year, the Ministry would continue to ensure free flow of relevant information in pursuance of the transparent and accountable governance.
Others activities would be effective and efficient monitoring and evaluation of public responses to Government policies, programmes and activities and providing timely feedback to government.
The Minister said strategic orientation of the Ministry in 2012, would be to increase partnership with the media based on mutual principled relationship of fairness, objectivity and truthfulness to promote national cohesion and sustainable development, improve government information dissemination and management machinery.
Mr Akologu said the Ministry would educate the public to ensure free, fair and transparent electioneering and subsequent success of Election 2012.
He said to achieve targets set for 2012, the Ministry, its Departments and Agencies projected an expenditure of GHC42,523,122 from government sources but the Ministry was allocated GHC19,511,521 while Internally Generated Fund (IGF) projection for the Ministry was GHC9,689,860.
Mr Akologu said the increase in government allocation from 2011 levels of GHC17,779,234 to GHC19,511,521, represented an increase of about 9.7 per cent.
He said the priority activities earmarked to be undertaken by the Ministry were rather enormous and estimated at to cost GHC11,622,989.45 and rendered the budgetary increase as non-effective.
The Minister said In addition, there was reduction in IGF from GHC15,081,870 in 2011 to GHC9,689.00 in 2012.
Mr. Akologu noted that the Ghana News Agency was positioned to generate sufficient IGF yet not much was realised from that source, which increased from a target of GHC34,699 to GHC101,435 from January to September 2011. He explained that the increase came from renting the Agencyï¿½s extra space at the Head Office and the rest from commissions on advertisements.
The Minister said "While this can be enhanced further given the needed attention and good pricing regime, the main operational area, which could have driven the increase in IGF rather showed a decline in IGF realisation from the projected GHC25,426 to GHC13,380 actuals from Janaury to September, 2011."
Mr. Akologu said the low IGF generation was due to the lack of sufficient funds to be used as seed money to pre-finance advertisements of clients and the inability of the Agency to charge economic rates with regard to subscription fees for news bulletins.
He explained that queries about education of public on the one time premium on the National Insurance Scheme was still an issue, which was being discussed, therefore, there was the need to educate the people to take advantage of the facility.
Nana Akomea, NPP MP for Okaikwei South, called on agencies and departments under the Ministry to make business plans that would show that they were capable to tap into the private sector. Mrs. Catherine Afeku, Deputy Ranking MP on Communication Committee and NPP MP for Evalue-Gwira said there was no need for a media fund but an accurate, timely and truthful information.
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