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Book on budget reform action plan for Ghana launched

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Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, Chairman of the Public Account Committee (PAC) of Parliament, on Wednesday launched a budget advocacy handbook with a call on those responsible for preparing the country’s budget to always make it transparent enough to the understanding of every citizen.

The book titled: “Spending Wisely: A Budget Reform Action Plan for Ghana” is aimed at building on the advocacy work of the Ghana Aid Effectiveness Forum (GAEF) to lead a sustained advocacy campaign for budget reforms for development effectiveness in Ghana.

The launch was sponsored by Civil Society in Ghana together with the Multi-Donor Budget Support and other budget related process.

Topics discussed include, “The New Oil Revenue and Ghana’s Fiscal Position”, and “Ghana’s Budget and Budget Process – Implications for new revenues from oil.

Mr Dapaah said in order to ensure proper accountability and transparency, the Auditor General and PAC should be well resourced in addition to ensuring that reports of institutions were provided on time to enable them (PAC) to work on them faster.

He commended the effort made by the GAEF for coming out with the book, adding that it contained practical recommendations especially on the issue of lack of transparency.

Mr Dapaah urged the Civil Society Organisation to organise public for a at the national and regional levels for people to come to terms with the budget cycle in order for it to serve as an intervening body for the people to ensure accountability.

Mr Dapaah said a budget must necessarily be responded to medium term development plan and added that institutions should just spend funds when they did not correspond with what was in the medium term plan.

He said citizens paid taxes and would want to know what the money was used for and so if government could not be accountable, people would not have confidence in it to continue to pay taxes.

Mr Dapaah, therefore, called for measures to be put in place to ensure that all funds for the Ministries Departments and Agencies were well accounted for.

He said the most important aspect of governance aside rule of law and upholding of human rights were finance and good governance, which demanded good public finance management system.

Mr Ebo Amuah, Principal Budget Analyst at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MFEP), enumerated a number of challenges faced by the MFEP including, misalignment of MDAs plans with budgets, undisclosed commitments, which have to be paid during the fiscal year of implementation, management of public Sector wage bill and non-comprehensive preparation and submission of implementation, procurement and cash plans by some MDAs.

He said however that the Ministry put in place some measures to strengthen the budget process in Ghana including introduction of programme base budgeting as part of efforts to address existing weakness in the budgeting system and introduce performance orientation, flexibility and simplicity.

Mr Amuah said the Ministry was also working on a fiscal decentralisation to enhance improved public financial management at local level.

Mr Samuel Zan Akologo, Country Director, SEND Ghana, who is the writer of the book, said it came in the wake of expected oil revenues and the likelihood of reduction in external budgetary support due to Ghana’s attainment of middle income status.

Ghana Aid Effectiveness Forum evolved from Ghana’s hosting of both High Level Forum 3 and the Parallel Civil Society Conference in 2008. It is a civil society network in Ghana concerned with issues of development policy.

Source: GNA

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