"Help arrest corruption in the public service" says Kan Dapaa
The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Albert Kan Dapaa has called on the public to demand accountability from public office holders to ensure transparency and accountability on the use of public funds.
He said sustained public agitation and demand for accountability will help correct weaknesses in the public accounts system and improve financial administration in the public sector.
Mr. Dapaa, who is also the Member of Parliament for Afigya Sekyere West, said this at a public forum organized jointly by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF) in Accra.
Speaking on the topic "Public Accountability Effects and Donor Budget Support," Mr. Dapaa blamed weaknesses in the Public Financial Management (PFM) for the state of affairs.
"The accounting and reporting modules under the country's PFM has never worked. What this means is that the MDA's are unable to capture and record all accounting transactions and neither are they able to produce year-end financial statements. This, of course, is as serious as it is outrageous but we have had to live with this rather scandalous state of affairs for many, many years."
"Because of the absence of the financial accounting and reporting module in the PFM, much needed internal controls and internal check systems are not in place leading to several cases of corruption and misappropriation of budgeted funds."
"A direct consequence of the inability by the MDA's to produce their financial statement is that there is no financial data to permit effective monitoring and evaluation. For the same reason, management information reports such as Budget Variance Analysis which are all part of the accountability regime cannot be prepared."
He was however quick to commend the government for initiating the process to address the problem but warned that any such system must be simple, user-friendly and effective.
Ms.Eva Essalba Mends, Head of Budget Development Unit of the Ministry of Finance, who chaired the forum said the Ministry has instituted several ways of demanding accountability for funds allocated to MDA's. She said Ghana is among the few African countries that have been able to meet the high accountability requirements of donor partners. She admitted though that there is the need to make it more effective.