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General News of Thursday, 8 October 2009

Source: GNA

Govt to take lead in defining donor support for budget

Accra, Oct. 7, GNA - Mr. Seth Terkper, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), said in Accra on Wednesday that Government would strengthen its development agenda and take the lead in defining a budget which donors can support.

Speaking at a day's workshop on the Multi-Donor Budget Support (MDBS) programme, he said to enhance accountability, Ghana had to develop its national strategy, set its own priorities and strengthen the country's systems and processes.

The Deputy Minister explained that the process allowed donors or Development Partners (DPs) and government to pool aid to support the budget and enable the two parties to agree on common terms instead of dealing with each donor separately.

It was for this reason, he said, that the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) was at its final stages of developing a Medium-Term Development Plan (MTDP) framework to replace the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) Phase II that comes to an end this year.

Similarly, the purpose of setting up the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) in September was to improve budget processes under the MOFEP and financial accounting methods under the Controller and Accountant General's Department (CAGD) and restore fiscal discipline under the stability agenda proposed in the 2009 budget.

The justification, Mr Terkper noted, was that external aid accounted for about 20 per cent of the total annual budget resources and was a major anchor for infrastructure development. He said as the global aid architecture changed rapidly, the onus was on government to ensure that MDAs involved in its delivery business adjusted accordingly and managed well to achieve results, adding that the DPs had since contributed a cumulative total of two billion US dollars and 300 million dollars annually.

Mr Terkper said the success and benefit of the MDBS process had been mutual and therefore its sustainability and growth depended on the commitment of government and DPs. "MDBS will continue to thrive on ownership and harmonization", he added.

The Chief Director of MOFEP, Professor Newman Kusi, also emphasised the need for government ownership in the development agenda and noted that it was equally important to deliberate in a frank manner with DPs to meet government goals.

He also noted that issues of conditionality, disbursement and challenges would have to be looked at again to align them with government's priorities.

The workshop would therefore identify clearly the role of the sectors under the MDBS process and enhance its understanding of the guiding principles and increasing requirements, as well as establish clear guidelines on relationships among MOFEP, MDAs and development partners.