The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has stated that the government will crack down on corruption and wasteful public spending in the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) as part of a concerted effort to ensure good governance.
In a speech read on his behalf at the Northern Regional launch of the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) in Tamale last Tuesday, Mr Ofori-Atta said the crackdown on corruption was consistent with the government’s efforts to create a more business-friendly environment for investors and better opportunities for the people.
The GIFMIS is an improved Information and Communications Technology (ICT) system under component two of the Public Financial Management Reform Project (PFMRP) of the Ministry of Finance that seeks to ensure efficiency in the management of government expenditure at the national, regional and district levels.
It was implemented in 2012 and currently all headquarters of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) subsisting on the Consolidated Fund are using the GIFMIS for the processing of their financial transactions.
The GIFMIS has so far been deployed to 60 MMDAs, and the remaining 156 are yet to benefit from the system.
The 2016 Auditor-General’s Report on the assemblies has revealed that deficiencies in the operations of MMDAs created avenues for some officials of the assemblies to mismanage funds and resources valued at approximately GH¢70.1 million.
The amount shows a 32 per cent (almost GH¢17 million) increase in the 2015 financial irregularities of the assemblies that the Auditor-General’s Report pegged at almost GH¢53.2 million.
According to the 2016 Auditor-General’s Report titled: “Management and Utilisation of District Assemblies’ Common Fund and other Statutory Funds”, the management and members of staff of assemblies continued to violate measures put in place to safeguard the public purse.
“Management and staff of the assemblies continued to violate rules and regulations, policies, procedures and directives which had been put in place to ensure the economic, effective and efficient management of public resources made available to MMDAs,” the report, signed by the Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Y. Domelevo, said.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the system would help achieve the targets set out in the Public Financial Management (PFM) strategy which recognised that achieving overall PFM improvement required a combination of the right policy changes, political commitment to reforms and the implementation of the appropriate systems and tools to deliver better outcomes from the new policy orientations of the government.
“GIFMIS is meant to replace all stand-alone legacy financial management systems at the MDAs and MMDAs, with the possibility of interfacing with other systems that need to be maintained to assist in achieving improved comprehensiveness, transparency and effective management of public financial resources,” he said.
He urged the various stakeholders to accord the intervention the needed attention and commitment to enable the country to become part of the global economic movement.
Manage funds efficiently
The Controller and Accountant General, Mr Eugene Ofosuhene, called for prudent management of public funds and efficient delivery of service by government officials to the public.
He said one other important reason for the gathering was to involve, engage and apprise the stakeholders in the region of the implementation of GIFMIS to solicit their buy-in and ensure that they took over the ownership of the operational system.
Mr Ofosuhene said they sought to establish a stronger dialogue with the various stakeholders in the MMDAs and MDAs.
The Head of the Civil Service, Nana Agyekum Dwamena, indicated that the system was part of the government’s efforts to deploy an integrated platform to all public institutions in the country in a bid to achieve efficiency in the use of ICT tools for PFM.
“This measure also seeks to discourage public institutions from investing in stand-alone ICT systems,” he said.
He entreated the MMDAs and MDAs to bring on board their views in the implementation of GIFMIS for the attainment of a national agenda.
The Manager of GIFMIS, Alhaji Tanko, said the system would provide improved and easy consolidation of financial data across MDAs and MMDAs which would provide the timely production of public accounts and also provide savings on domestic borrowing from the Bank of Ghana as a result of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
“The system will also improve budget preparation, improve cash management, strengthen budgetary controls and ensure efficiency in the use of public funds to reduce corruption and mismanagement of public resources,” he said.