Ghana needs to improve financial reporting, monitoring and evaluation
29 March 2012, GNA / Ghanaweb
Ghana is on course with her economic management system but needs to improve her financial reporting, monitoring, implementation and evaluation practices.
Professor Yaw Agyeman Badu, Rector of Ghana Insititute of Management and Public Administration, who made the recommendation, said Ghana’s economy would experience accelerated development if all economic indicators were improved.
He was speaking at the Validation Workshop on Research Findings on Financial Governance in Ghana, which was jointly organised by African Capacity Building Foundation and Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) in Accra on Thursday.
The workshop was to validate the country report of African Governance Outlook (AGO) Project, a report that provided effective African-based diagnostic tool for financial governance that had regional reach and involved national research and think-tanks.
Alluding to recent proceedings at the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Prof. Badu expressed dissatisfaction that most data referred to were those that were four years old and said that financial reporting system in the country was not the best.
Mr Francis Tsegah, a Senior Research Fellow at CDD, said participation of the media and civil society in governance was key in promoting the rule of law and accountability.
He asked media and civil society organisations to check government against abuse of incumbency and said that it was wrong for political activities to be funded with State funds.
Mr Tsegah expressed confidence that participants would make meaningful inputs to review AGO, collate inputs and validate the report to improve public financial management systems in Ghana.
The Country 2012 AGO report on Ghana indicated that she scored lowest in the area of inclusiveness though the country’s democratic credentials had been highly touted in Africa.
Dr Anthony Tsekpo, Project Consultant for the AGO Report, attributed the low score to the "largely top-down nature of Ghana’s economic management infrastructure.”
He said despite efforts to introduce fiscal decentralisation, a high degree of central planning had always been one of the features of the Ghanaian economy.
Dr Tsekpo, who is also a Senior Budget Expert at the Parliamentary Centre, stressed that: "Though there is evidence of improvements in this area, the ability of domestic actors to influence economic, fiscal and expenditure policies remains inadequate.”
He said the report showed that Ghana’s current performance in public financial management assessments could be attributed to a number of factors.
Dr Tsekpo said some respondents expressed the view that the primary stumbling block to rapid improvement in public financial management could be attributed to lack of political will and challenges in the area of fiscal discipline.
He recommended that training for financial cadres needed to cover the new legal and regulatory framework for effective public sector financial governance.
Dr Tsekpo advised that, the economic governance role played by Parliamentarians needed to be strengthened to enable them exercise proper oversight in the area of financial governance and to professionalise their interaction with Government by establishing a budget and finance professional corps in the Parliamentary service.
"Such a group would provide technical support to the various Parliamentary committees in the area of budget oversight,” he added.
Dr Tsepko called for improved civil society participation, enhanced capacity of media to enable them to play their watchdog role as well as to strengthen specialised agencies to perform efficiently and effectively.
The agencies include Commission on Human Rights and Administration Justice and the Economic and Organised Crime Office.
The AGO provides a mechanism to monitor governance performance and trends over time, promote evidence-based policy dialogue and to inform the design of support to financial governance reform in regional member countries.
The purpose of the research is to identify systems, processes and failures and to analyse the reasons for failures, if any.
The AGO analytical framework used an integrated approach which combined quantitative data and qualitative analysis based on a matrix of 25 indicators, covering five public finance management finances namely, budget governance, revenue governance, internal control, public procurement and external oversight.
These financial dimensions were measured against five political governance indicators which included openness, inclusiveness, rule of compliance and oversight.
The AGO report used existing information from credible secondary sources such as the African Peer Review Mechanism, Afro-barometer, Global Integrity survey, Mo Ibrahim Indexes, Open Budget Initiative and the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability reports.