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Implement financial laws for efficient public accounts management — Agyeman Manu
NEWS | GACC News

The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has advocated commitment to the financial laws of the country for an efficient public accounts management system.

The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has advocated commitment to the financial laws of the country for an efficient public accounts management system.

According to him, all the fine laws could be written but without commitment to ensure their implementation, all the efforts at improving public financial management would be futile.

He was speaking at a day’s consultative forum on: “Enhancing the effectiveness of Ghana’s public financial management system”, organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and its partners under the Accountable Democratic Institutions and Systems Strengthening Project (ADISS).

Supported by the USAID, the project seeks to facilitate improved accountability in governance through various dialogues and initiatives by civil society organisations (CSOs) and governmental agencies.

With the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and Send Ghana as implementing partners, the GII consortium seeks to improve governance outcomes for citizens.

Commitment

Mr Agyeman-Manu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Dormaa Central, speaking on the effectiveness of audit committees under the new Public Finance Management (PFM) Law, Act 921, said some of the challenges with ensuring oversight of public accounts were encountered about a decade ago when Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah chaired the PAC.

He said during that time, committee members usually asked heads and financial administrators of public institutions if they had Audit Report Implementation Committees (ARICs) as prescribed in the Audit Service Act of 2004.

Currently, the question posed was whether the ARICs were functional, he said.

He said the independence of the new audit committees that would replace the ARICS under the new law was important in dealing with some of the past challenges.

He expressed the hope that with time, gaps in the law would be evident for redress in order to have an efficient public finance management system.

Audit committees

 Mr Kan-Dapaah, in a review of the PFM Law, Act 921, and the audit committees under the new law, said there would be “unnecessary delays” if audit committees were to wait for Parliament to adopt reports of the Auditor General before acting on them, as pertained with the ARICs. 

Under Act 921, the audit committees will replace the ARICs.

He explained that under Ghana’s PAC, similar to many committees of the Commonwealth, an auditor general’s report was accepted only when it was adopted by Parliament.

The limitation with Ghana’s system was that the auditor general’s reports delayed before their adoption by PAC, making it difficult to act expeditiously to save the country from losses.

Mr Kan-Dapaah emphasised clear clauses in regulations undergirding the law to ensure that audit committees lived up to expectation.

Local government

The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies ILGS), Dr Eric Osae,  suggested that for the development of regulations for the new PFM Law to enhance the effectiveness of audit committees, the committees had to be seamlessly merged within the local government system.

He also prescribed regulations to ensure the mandatory evaluation of the committees, as well as clear sanctions for breaches.

The Head of Budget Reforms at the Ministry of Finance, Ms Eva Mends, in her observations, said the new law intended the systems to work, so that the auditor general would not be bogged down with non-compliance reporting but would focus on performance standards.

She also emphasised that Act 921 was a comprehensive law comprising budgeting, accounting reporting and auditing principles.

“This is an opportunity to get it right,” the Deputy Chairperson of the National Development Planning Commission, Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, said in her opening remarks.

She said many a time Ghanaians bemoaned the inability of institutions to implement laws.

She commended the GII for organising the programme to afford the opportunity for implementation. 

Source: http://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/implement-financial-laws-for-efficient-public-accounts-management-agyeman-manu.html

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