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Transparency needed in fiscal reporting – Minister

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BudgetA three-day regional workshop on fiscal reporting and transparency for countries in the West Africa sub-region opened in Accra on Monday with a call on participants to help build systems and processes that reflected the unique culture and circumstances in the region.

Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, Deputy Minister for Finance, said stronger public financial management systems remained the only protection from world economic conditions and capacity constraints.

However, he said, the lack of transparency in fiscal reporting remained a major challenge in the region and that there was a long-way for all countries to have best practice systems in place.

Mr Forson said Ghana was making progress in boosting tax revenue collection and repaying the domestic arrears as well as in its structural reform agenda.

He said the continuous pursuit of prudent macroeconomic policies and structural reforms would help preserve the stabilisation gains made so far.

“Our remaining fiscal challenges relate to further revenue mobilisation and improving spending efficiency to create adequate room for critical infrastructure investments,” Mr Forson said.

Mr Samir Jahjah, International Monetary Representative in Ghana, said the global financial crisis had highlighted the need for taking timely measures to enhance fiscal reporting and transparency.

He said the IMF would soon be finalising a revised code of fiscal transparency to set the parameters for basic, good and advanced practice for various dimensions of fiscal reporting, fiscal forecasting and budgeting as well as fiscal risk analysis and management.

Mr Jahjah urged countries in the region to adopt basic or good practice to help accelerate the on-going efforts to harmonise public finance systems in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The three-day workshop will focus on enhancing the coverage of public sector fiscal operations, improving the timeliness and regularity of fiscal reporting and improving budget classification, chart of accounts and government financial statistics as well as enhancing public access to budget and other fiscal information.

Source: GNA

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