April 24, 2024

Two policy docu­ments to promote efficiency and accountability in the use of public financial resourc­es during emergencies were yesterday launched in Accra by the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori Atta.

They are the Emergency Expenditure Management Guidelines (EEMG) and the Audit Recommendations Implementation and Follow-up Instructions for Public Institutions (ARIFIP).

Developed under the Ghana-Resil­ient Development Policy Operation (DPO) Standard Procedure (SOP) of the World Bank, the documents are designed to provide a clear, transparent framework for how to respond to crises and uphold fiscal discipline in public emergencies as well as improve public accountability.

Developed by Ministry of Finance led by the Internal Audit Director­ate, the Ghana Health Service, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Health, the Controller and Accoun­tant’s General Department and the GIFMIS Secretariat, Internal Audit Agency and Ghana Audit Service, the instructions provide criteria and a basis for the categorisation of audit finding and recommendations to enhance the audit follow-up process, data analysis and dissemination.

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, in remarks made on his behalf by his deputy, Dr John Kumah, during the launch said the EEMG was created in response to recent challenges, including the glob­al pandemic that tested the resilience of our country’s ability to respond effectively to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic whiles com­plying with the requirements of the Public Financial Management Act.

He said the ARIFIP guidelines presented procedures and internal controls that would direct service delivery units on the means to access, manage, and account for funding during an emergency with efficiency and transparency, whiles ensuring compliance with the various require­ments of the PFM laws.

“Crucially, the “Audit Recom­mendations Implementation and Follow-up Instructions for Public In­stitutions,” are anchored on govern­ment’s firm commitment to ensure strict accountability and transparency in the management of public re­sources,” Mr Ofori-Atta, stated.

He said the documents would ensure that every financial decision was made with integrity, and that irregularities were not only identified but rectified.

“Undoubtedly, these instructions will ensure that we are faithful stew­ards of public resources, generating maximum outcomes from the use of scare public resources for the benefit of all Ghanaians,” Mr Ofori-Atta.

The Director-General of the In­ternal Audit Agency (IAA), Dr Eric Oduro Osae, in his remarks said the launch of the document was to inject transparency and accountability in Public Financial Management.

He said about 99 public sector institutions had audit committees in line with the Public Financial Man­agement Act and their role was to support the implementation of audit recommendations.

“But the challenge we have is how to track and follow up the status of implementing these recommenda­tions,” Dr Osae stated.

The Director-General of IAA said there was extremely consistent reduction in irregularities and infrac­tions, saying “From the 2022 Auditor General’s Report we have seen a de­cline in infractions and irregularities in the use of public finances.”

The Chief Director of Ministry of Finance, Ms Eva Mends, in her remarks, said the launch of the two documents was an important step in strengthening the Public Financial Management system and make public officials more accountable.

She said during COVID-19 the country did a lot to save lives but the concern now is how public resources were utilised.

Ms Mends said the guidelines were to reduce human discretion in the use of public funds and urged all public institutions to go by the two documents to promote efficiency and transparency in the use of public resources.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE

 

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