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MMDAs directed to operate Single Treasury Accounts by December 2013

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cediMetropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) have been directed to shift from operating multiple accounts to Single Treasury Accounts by December this year in conformity with the implementation of the Composite Budget.

The MMDAs which failed to comply would be sanctioned, Mr Eric Oduro Osae, of the Local Government Training Institute (LGTI), said at a meeting with the Volta Regional Coordinating Council to develop a framework for Monitoring and Evaluating (M&E) the implementation of the Composite Budget of MMDAs.

The M&E framework proposed in each of the 10 RCCs would be developed into a national monitoring and evaluation guideline for monitoring the implementation of the Composite Budget which came into effect in 2012 he explained.

A Composite Budget, Mr Osae, Dean of Studies and Research of the ILGS, explained is an aggregate of projected revenue and expenditure of Departments and Institutions of the MMDAs.

Mr Osae said under the Composite Budget all funds whether from Central Government or external sources to the Assemblies would have to be lodged into the Single Treasury Account of each MMDA to make for transparency and accountability in the disbursement of funds on projects.

He was speaking on the topics, “Composite Budget Implementation: Roles and Expectations of key stakeholders,” and “implementing the District Composite Budget: Auditing issues and emerging matters.”

Mr Osae explained that the multiple accounts arose because donors required the Assemblies to operate separate accounts for projects they were funding.

He said the Assemblies more often failed to close such accounts at the end of those projects for whatever reasons thus incurring costs on them.

Mr Osae said the multiple accounts also made it easy for MMDAs to assign several funding sources to the same project.

He said under the Single Treasury Account however every project would have its specific funding source and therefore its disbursement could be tracked to curtail abuses and waste.

Mr Osae said there would be a composite audit of each MMDA’s Composite Budget instead of the previous multiple auditing and reports, which hid the real revenue and expenditure performance of the Assemblies.

He explained that the Composite Audit would ensure correlation between budget and plans.

Mr Osae said the State Audit Institution would be the final authority to review the composite audit reports instead of the current practice where private auditing firms rather played that role.

He advised the monitoring and evaluation teams of the Regional Coordinating Councils to obtain copies of audit reports from the Audit Service when about to embark on their monitoring and evaluation exercises to the Assemblies.

Mr Osae explained that such audit reports from the Audit Service would help them to ascertain the authenticity of the audit reports of the Assemblies as some of the MMDAs tended to tinker with their copies of audit reports to make them look good.

He urged the Regional Coordinating Council Monitoring and Evalutaion (M&E) teams to be meticulous and thorough in their work because their competence and reliance would be tested anytime the Assemblies appear before the parliamentary Accounts Committee.

He also advised the M&Es to always inform the frontline officials of the Assemblies well in advance before they visit the Assemblies so that none of the relevant officials could come up with excuses not to be able to meet them.

Mr Osae also asked the M&E teams to meet with all the relevant frontline officials of the Assemblies including relevant stakeholders outside the Assemblies such as traditional rulers and major rate payers when they go on the monitoring and evaluation visits.

That way they would be able obtain the true state of things happening in the particular Local Government area.

He urged the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives and Regional Ministers to support and show keen interest in the work of the Monitoring teams because the failures or successes of M&Es would reflect on them.

Mr Jonathan Azaso of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) said under the Composite Budget there would be one reporting format for all MMDAs.

He said such formats should be discussed with the MMDAs to make for easy comparison.

Mr Azaso urged the M&E teams to focus on the extent to which indicators of programmes, projects and activities have been adhered to.

The participants alleged that the MMDAs seemed not to attach any importance to the work of the M&E teams.

They said the MMDAs rather attached more importance to the consultants who operate Functional and Organisational Assessment Tool (FOAT) in assessing the performance of the MMDAs because of the financial incentives arising from positive FOAT reports.

They observed that MMDAs which acted on the findings and recommendations the M&Es ended up with positive FOAT reports.

They therefore suggested that the RCCs should be given the power to sanction MMDAs which failed to act on recommendations of the RCCs M&Es.

They also suggested that a fund be created to facilitate the work of the M&E teams which are expected to carry out their monitoring and evaluation work quarterly.

Source: GNA

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