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Business News of Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Source: Daily Guide

Terkper promises sound financial management system

The Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, has stated that one of his priorities is to establish a sound budget and financial management and accounting system for the country.

He said the budgeting system of the ministry would be integrated with accounting for the expenditure to plug some of the loopholes and deal with malfeasance that occurred in government expenditures and accounting as result of oversight.

“These are part of the mature systems that His Excellency the President wants in place to consolidate the economy’s status as middle income, and account for what we spend,” Mr Terkper told the Daily Graphic, in his first media interview in Accra.

The Chartered Accountant and former Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) formally assumed office Monday, starting the day with a high-profile management meeting with directors and senior officials of the ministry.

From March 2009 to December 2012, he served as the Deputy Finance and Economic Planning Minister in charge of Finance,

Mr Terkper later in the day, also held a staff durbar during which he outlined his vision and operational strategy to the staff, and called for their cooperation and diligence for them to achieve greater successes.

He explained that the new accounting system, also known as the Ghana Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS), an electronic based system, would enable all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to implement the budget and account for every expenditure and project.

He said since the system involved all MDAs, there was the need for the Ministry of Finance itself to put in place a strong management and organisational system, adding “I would want us to improve the Ministry’s organisational structure, systems and processes to enable us to discharge the coordinating role effectively.”

Mr Terkper said in line with the President’s vision to improve the well-being of all Ghanaians, the ministry would effectively collaborate with the Bank of Ghana and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and work with MDAs to ensure a stable macroeconomic environment, mobilise the needed revenue for projects, while accounting for them properly.

The Finance Minister said the ministry would also work towards the implementation of the President’s vision for the government to be an ally to the private sector, saying “we will expatiate in the budget that we are currently preparing to present to Parliament.

He could not give a definite date when the budget would be presented to Parliament, but he posited that what the private sector expected was always not financial support, but the resolution of challenges that raised the cost of doing business, such as delays on clearing goods at the port.

Mr Terkper said although the port authority and other agencies involved in port clearing might make money through demurrages, “these are not efficient ways of collecting revenue; the ability of the private sector to ran smoothly is a better alternative.”

He added that the ministry would, therefore, “work with the Bank of Ghana to ensure that credit flows to the private sector. We will also work with other MDAs such as the Ministry of Roads to ensure that the private sector can access markets.”

Earlier at a staff durbar, Mr Terkper, once again, brought his discipline to bear in one of the most sensitive ministries in governance when he arrived on time for the staff durbar.

The soft spoken minister called on staff to give off their best, saying “we should work hard, be punctual and infuse due diligence in all we do,” stressing that “coordinating and cooperation is important in discharging our constitutional mandate and working to actualise the vision of the president.”

The Director-General, Administration, Mr Romeo Adu-Tutu, introduced the new Chief Director of the Ministry in the person of Major M. S. Tara (retd), who replaced Mr Enoch Cobbinah, who has been reassigned to the Ministry of Education.

Both Major Tara and Mr Adu-Tutu took turns to encourage staff toput in their best in support of the new leadership of the ministry.

Mr Terkper holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Kennedy School, Harvard University.

As a Deputy Minister, Mr Terkper worked mainly on the Budget and Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). He also worked on revenue policy and administration and chaired the joint Steering Committee of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) reforms.