Improper financial control "killing" Ghana's public institutions

Mr. Kan Dapaah

Improper financial control to ensure prompt recovery of debts is a major shortcoming of public institutions being examined by the Public Accounts Committee currently, Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, Chairman of the Committee, said on Tuesday.

He said another common problem is cash and tax irregularities. He noted that in 2004 irregularities in outstanding debts stood at ¢236,879 million old Ghana cedis, which reduced to 3,932 million old cedis in 2005.

The Volta River Authority, Electricity Company of Ghana, Public Utility Regulatory Commission, Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited were examined on Tuesday.

Institutions expected to appear before the Committee on Wednesday are the Ghana National Petroleum Company, Energy Commission, Social Security and National Insurance Trust, Department of National Lotteries, Bank of Ghana and Ghana Cocoa Board.

Mr Dapaah described as bad the situation where the Auditor General had to provide assistance to some agencies to bring their financial statements to public standards. He said the Auditor General must not provide accounting services to organizations because such bodies should have the capacity to do so.

He said some organizations did not meet the March 31st deadline for submission of their accounts, which was also unacceptable.

Dr Dapaah also said that out of a total of 65 public boards and corporations that were targeted for audit, only 32 were able to submit their accounts.

He said the AG noted that lack of adequate knowledge in accounting by account officers accounted for the delays or non-submission of the accounts.

The AG observed that the financial position and operational performance of the Boards and Corporations could have been healthier if effective supervision of the scheduled officers and painstaking review by management had been taken to address the weaknesses and lapses.

He said the Committee would sit for eight days to examine the audit reports of a number of public Boards and Corporations.

He commended GTZ and the Parliamentary Centre, which sponsored the sittings and workshops that preceded these sittings.

Source: GNA

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