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General News of Thursday, 20 November 2014


Govt responds to OccupyGhana

Government says it is going to activate its anti-corruption machinery to prosecute public officials indicted by the Auditor General’s report from 2015.

This is one of government’s measures announced by Finance Minister, Seth Terkper to reduce waste and improve efficiency in public financial management.

The minister said this when he presented the 2015 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament on Wednesday under the theme: “Transformational Agenda: Securing the Bright Medium Term Prospects of the Economy.”

Pressure group OccupyGhana last week issued a 30-day ultimatum to the Auditor-General to recover all stolen and unaccounted for monies documented in his various reports over the last eleven years. A renowned lawyer, Ace Ankomah who spoke on behalf of the group at a public forum in Accra said failure to comply with the directive will result in a legal action against Mr. Richard Quartey.

In apparent response to the group, Mr. Seth Terkper told Parliament “In 2015, the Government will implement initiatives to enforce the recommendations of the Auditor-General’s Report. This will involve sanctioning and possible prosecution of persons indicted by the report.”

He said government in conjunction with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and other anti-corruption agencies will also begin implementation of the national Anti-corruption Action Plan (NACAP).

“In addition, government will strictly enforce the sanctions regime on payroll fraud and all other financial misconduct and indiscipline as outlined in Section 8 in the Financial Administration Regulation,” the Finance Minister assured.

There are ongoing reforms in Public Financial Management (PFM), he announced, stating this is “a pillar of our effort to build and enhance the capacity of our institutions and processes”.

A draft PFM strategy has been developed to facilitate a holistic approach to the implementation of the reforms, he said.

He told Parliament government will undertake a comprehensive review in 2015 to simplify budget execution process and ensure effective budget and commitment controls.

“In the meantime new expenditure management rules will be developed and the following measures implemented,

“i. Contracts and Public Investment Management: The contracts database we have been establishing since 2011 will now have an electronic link to budget allocations whilst the cash management and fixed asset modules within GIFMIS (Financial Accounting) System will be deployed.

“ii. Under the Financial Administration Act (FAA), all institutions on government budget are required to apply the GIFMIS system by interface or integration. We will pursue this goal vigorously under GIFMIS Phase II for all MDAs, MMDAs and subvented organizations—as bases for improving budget outcomes and preparing the Public Accounts that are eventually submitted to the House.

“iii. Upgrade of the Payroll: In 2013, the Payroll upgrade under GIFMIS was fast-tracked to help resolve many issues that were impeding the smooth implementation of the Single-Spine Salary Scheme (SSSS). This will be complemented with the HRMIS system and explore a continuing active role for the private sector. It is our expectation that this will improve effective payroll administration, including recruitment, transfers, promotion, and termination of staff from the civil and public services. It will also facilitate audits and the application of sanctions against malfeasance."

On payroll management, Mr. Terkper said, government will ensure full implementation of the Electronic Salary Payment Voucher (ESPV) System and conduct frequent payroll audits.