Media, CSOs asked to monitor public finances

The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC), Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, has called on the media and Civil Society Organizations (CSO), to get more involved in the management of public finances.

He noted that even when the relevant laws are passed to protect public purse, the state institutions and mechanism for effective implementation of those laws are weak and that often make it easier for some politicians and senior public servants to get away with corrupt practices.

Mr Kan-Dapaah was speaking on the topic “Parliamentary role in oil and gas revenue management, global trends, Ghana’s example” at the third in a series of editors’ forum on strategic overview of global oil and gas sector in Koforidua on Saturday.

The forum was organized by the International Institute of ICT Journalism (Pen Bytes) in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and Tullow Ghana.

He said his experience in government and Parliament showed that, often when CSOs and the media raised some concerns, politicians quickly come out to react.

He said currently apart from the Ministry of Health, many ministries and departments were not able to prepare their annual accounts as required by law and that the necessary sanctions were not being applied.

Mr Kan-Dapaah cited issues raised by the PAC and said most of the recommendations  made by his committee based on reports submitted to it were supposed to be implemented by the heads of departments and governmental agencies most of whom were the same people whose actions had attracted those decisions and comments.

He said the greatest challenge facing the young democracies in Africa, including Ghana, was how to manage corruption in the public service.

Mr Ransford Tetteh, President of the GJA, called on media personnel in the country to take advantage of the emerging issues on oil and gas to provide the people with the needed information and education.

He said often media personnel tended to shy away from issues involving many technicalities like issues on oil and gas.

Mr Tetteh however noted that once media personnel developed the interest, it would be much easier to learn to acquire the  required information to produce a good journalistic piece.

He said many people were expecting employment from the oil and gas industry and that the media needed to position itself in a way to explain issues to the people, especially on how to get engaged in the sector.

In his closing remarks, the Vice-President of the GJA, Mr Affail Monney, called on reporters and editors to scale up their knowledge on issues pertaining to oil and gas so they could produce good reports to enlighten the public on those issues.

Source: GNA

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