You are here: HomeBusiness2015 10 10Article 386869

Business News of Saturday, 10 October 2015

Source: B&FT

Terkper demands more fiscal discipline

Seth Terkper, Minister Finance Seth Terkper, Minister Finance

Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, has tasked public finance managers to adhere strictly to the various reforms of his ministry aimed at encouraging prudent protection of the public purse.

Speaking at the sixth annual Accountability Lectures of the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) in Accra, he said the financial reforms being embarked on by government are meant to encourage market confidence and attract more investments into the economy.

This year’s lectures was on the theme ‘Management, Protection and Accountability of Government Funds—who is responsible?’ It brought together seasoned economists and experts to discuss the need for cooperation among state institutions to foster transparency in the use of public funds.

Mr. Tekper in his remarks said: “Public finance managers must make a tireless effort to protect public funds as the basis for improving domestic revenue collection, which will translate into effective delivery of public services.

“That is how we will be able to expand basic infrastructure to befit the country’s middle-income status, and also safeguard the broad medium-term prospects of the economy.”

The Ministry of Finance has in recent times introduced a number of public financial management reforms as the precursor to structural economic adjustments that will accelerate national economic growth.

The Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Programme-Based Budgeting (PBB) and the development of the comprehensive medium-term Debt Management Strategy are some of the financial reforms that have been employed to ensure improved results, transparency and value for money in the use of public funds.

Despite the reforms, economists and financial analysts have had cause to complain about the continued looting of the public purse, due largely to misplaced priorities when it comes to expenditure and the lack of transparency and accountability in the PFM system.

But according to the minister, realising the benefits of these interventions to cushion the public purse will require contribution from key players in the public financial management structure, including the central bank and consistent performance of subvented companies.

He added: “Protecting public funds is a shared responsibility for all; the central bank’s role in protecting public funds includes keeping the cedi stable at all times.

“State-owned enterprises can also protect public funds by striving to achieve results in their operations instead of consistently resorting to government after incurring losses. That is not protection of public funds.”

Mr. Terkper said government is committed to ensuring results and value for money in the disbursement of public funds, and called on stakeholders to buy into the various reforms that target openness and transparency in the process.

Auditor-General Richard Quarshie said shielding the public purse from corrupt officers and mismanagement demands swift prosecution of culprits without favour, to serve as deterrent measure.

He said: “State agencies responsible for prosecution and adjudication should act promptly on cases of corruption and mismanagement without fear or favour.

“There is need for an aggressive follow-up mechanism for the final PAC report on the AG’s report endorsed by parliament, to prevent or minimise recurrence of malfeasances committed by public officials.”

Mr. Quarshie said all hands must be deck to guarantee sustainable socio-economic development of the country and citizenry.