Minister admits deficiency in Ghana’s public financial management system
Mr Baba Jamal, the Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, on Wednesday said the public financial management of the country was deficient as a result of many challenges.
He said annual financial reports consistently revealed deficient and unreliable data on which revenue projections were based.
“Property rates are not current, rateable persons and business listings are not being maintained and not properly classified and used as a basis for making meaningful revenue projections.”
“Yet it is this same revenue that is expended on the provision of socio-economic services in the country,” he said.
Mr Jamal said this in a speech read on his behalf at a day’s public financial management workshop held in Koforidua for District Co-ordinating directors, Finance and Budget officers and Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) drawn from the Eastern Region.
Other organizations including The Ghana Audit Service, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Accountant General’s Department, the Internal Audit Agency and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development attended the workshop with support from DANIDA.
It was aimed at reviewing the finding of the Auditor General’s report on central and local government financial processes.
Mr Jamal said it was regrettable to know that personnel and accounting records in offices at times could not be traced.
“What one cannot understand is that there are laid down systems that clearly stipulate how official documents and records are to be handled and secured but these systems are ignored”.
Mr Jamal said in addition to those irregularities it was the nature of how contracts were being managed in the MDAs that left much to be desired.
He said there were traces of inadequate and incomplete records on contractors and that advance mobilization fees were approved and paid without bank guarantees, variations were made that were significant alteration of the existing contracts without going back to the tender or procurement procedures.
“The end result is that contracts are abandoned or there are no funds to clear the commitments that are made when the contracts have been executed”.
Mr Jamal expressed worry that corporate assets were not passed through stores but placed to direct use adding that pieces of information being gathered at the Ghana @50 Public hearings showed appalling documentation, sloppy record keeping and questionable accounting procedures made during the event.
He therefore urged the participants to ensure that financial statements and returns were prepared and submitted before the stipulated deadlines
Mr Jamal appealed to them to adhere to the principles of probity, accountability and transparency bearing in mind that one day they would be called upon to account for their stewardship.
Mr Philip K. Ofori, Eastern Regional Auditor, urged the participants to ensure that they kept proper records at their workplaces at all times to facilitate auditing.