Lack of integration of government finances poses challenge – Minister
Mr. Cassiel Ato Forson, Deputy Minister of Finance has identified the lack of integration and interfaces of the various systems in the overall public financial management reform as a major challenge in the public sector.
He said various financial systems in the public sector in the past operated independently of each other, especially in the areas of budget preparation, budget execution, financial reporting, debt management and revenue collection.
“These stand-alone systems have created inefficiencies in the overall management of public funds as integration of the financial systems was fragmented and uncontrolled, leading to unplanned expenditures on the part of government,” Mr. Forson said.
Mr. Forson was addressing staff of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, Development Partners, and Project Staff at the 5th Development Partners Implementation Review and Support Mission in Accra on Wednesday.
He said it was in recognition of those challenges that the government through the support of the development partners was embarking on the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) Project to improve fiscal discipline and macro-economic stability of the Ghana.
He explained that government was committed to using the GIFMIS platform to carry out budget preparation and execution, accounting and financial reporting, cash management, assets management, internal controls and auditing.
Mr. Forson said one of the key outputs for the project was the integration of the programme-based budgeting and human resource management information system onto the GIFMIS, while government was reviewing the overall budgetary system, moving away from the activity-based budgeting to programme-based budgeting.
The Ministry of Finance had worked assiduously to get the ministries, departments and agencies to prepare their budgets using the programmed based budgeting and it was expected that human resource management issues in the public sector would be able to link directly to the government budget and the payroll, Mr. Forson said.
Mr. Forson said the GIFMIS was expected to provide audit trail for effective payroll audit of ministries, departments and agencies as well as metropolitan, municipal, district assemblies to help government to efficiently manage its cash flow forecasts and planning.
He pointed out that the GIFMIS would serve as check and balances of the financial sector and help to reduce some of the practices that led to corruption in the public sector.
He gave the assurance that the Ministry of Finance and Controller and Accountant General’s Department would offer all the needed support to the project team to ensure that they were well motivated to deliver good results.
Mr. Ismaila B. Ceesay, Lead Financial Management Specialist at the World Bank, said the project would improve government’s expenditure and bring efficiency into the public financial sector for higher economic growth.
He said the partners would work with project staff, provided them with the necessary support and initiate innovations in the implementation of the project to achieve its objectives.
Mr. Ceesay noted that the GIFMIS would work to integrate government’s finances and expenditures into a single account budget framework to promote public investment management.
He urged staff of the project to give attention to financial reporting and to ensure that financial statements were right and of quality.