Dr Ernest Puni Kwarko[/caption] A public advocate, Dr Ernest Puni Kwarko, is optimistic that the 2019 budget presented before Parliament last Thursday can drive economic growth if the necessary disbursement of funds is made. Dr. Kwarko is thus calling on the government to show commitment by ensuring that at least 70 to 80 per cent of the allocated funds are disbursed for effective implementation of the policies. Speaking in an interview with 3news.com, Dr. Kwarko observed that successive governments over the years have had the penchant of not respecting the budget. “It looks like we set up our budget not to respect it by exceeding our expenditure deficit with carelessness,” he observed. Dr Kwarko stressed the 2019 budget holds a lot of promise towards the economic, social, and educational growth of the country if government follows through with implementation. “The budget holds promise but we should be able to follow through with implementation. A lot of allocation has been made but allocation does not constitute disbursement. “If we are able to follow through 70 to 80% of the implementation, a lot of progress and development will be achieved,” he said. Scrutinizing the budget, Dr Kwarko commended the government for allocating more funds to the health sector. He, however, expects some of the allocated funds to be used as rural incentive to ensure equitable distribution of health personnel. “The central government should be interested in using some of the allocated funds as rural incentives so get more personnel to the under-served areas.” On education, he observed no dedicated fund to sustain the Free Senior High School was stated. “It’s good that some allocation has been made for the Free SHS but the worrying part is that no dedicated fund was announced to sustain the policy.” Dr Kwarko applauded the government for allocating GH¢180 million to the Special Prosecutor’s office in its bid to fight corruption. “It’s exciting to hear the Office of the Special Prosecutor has been allocated GH¢ 180 million to fight corruption. This will enable the Office to successfully team up with relevant agencies to prosecute corrupt officials.” He explains “corruption and mismanaged economy keep recurring from the first to the fourth republic. It is time we confront the issue of corruption”. In his view, Dr Kwarko said the budget looks good. However, the President should not relax but demand accountability from the Finance Minister to get the needed development.