President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has served notice that public officials will be held accountable for their decisions, actions and inaction in the management of public resources.
He gave an assurance that the government would ensure the strict implementation of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act to bring sanity into public financial administration.
That, he said, would enhance the fight against corruption and accelerate national development.
This was contained in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the National Annual Internal Audit Conference in Accra yesterday.
The two-day conference was held on the theme: “Safeguarding national resources through effective public financial management.”
It brought together more than 300 internal auditors and PFM experts and stakeholders to deliberate on effective ways of safeguarding and ensuring optimal use of public resources through an effective PFM system.
Parliament passed the PMF Bill into law in 2016 to integrate all existing legislation on public financial management.
Public financial management has experienced systematic weaknesses, including lack of credibility in the budget process, unpredictability during budget execution, limited expenditure controls and cash rationing, all of which contribute to the problem of chronic and persistent arrears.
Resources must be protected
President Akufo-Addo submitted that currently, state resources were not enough, considering the huge developmental gap that existed, and, therefore, waste, misappropriation, leakages and other odds in financial management should be dealt with.
“This is where we are and no one else can take us out of this situation except ourselves. In this regard, I am of the conviction that efficient and sound management of our natural resources and taxes will be a hallmark in our effort to develop Ghana beyond aid,” he said.
He said the PFM system needed to be transparent in the acquisition and use of public resources.
Transparency, he said, would prevent leakages, abuse, waste and fraud by public officials and promote public confidence in the management of the economy.
President Akufo-Addo attributed the misuse of public funds to the inability of successive governments to enforce laws, rules and policies that regulated how public officials managed public funds and resources.
“Our commitment to effective PFM is reflected in the number of programmes and reform initiatives that has been put in place towards the stabilisation and the ultimate acceleration of the economy,” he said.
He mentioned one of the initiatives as the creation of the Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation to monitor government programmes and projects, in collaboration with the relevant institutions.
The President commended the Auditor General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, for beginning a regime of surcharging public officials whose actions or inaction led to loss of public funds.
President Akufo-Addo described the role of internal auditors as key to sound PFM and the achievement of the government’s development agenda.
He, therefore, urged them not to compromise their role under any circumstance and assured them of government’s support in the discharge of their mandate.
Making a contribution, the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, said public officials were required to use the scarce national resources at their disposal efficiently and in a transparent and accountable manner.
He charged internal auditors in public institutions not to compromise on PFM control systems, particularly as specified in the PFM Act.
In his welcome address, the acting Director-General of the Internal Audit Agency, Mr Ransford Agyei, said the agency had positioned itself to assist the public sector to implement good corporate governance practices that would ensure the safeguarding of national resources and secure economic, effective and efficient use of same.
For her part, the Chairperson for the event and Vice Chair of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, noted that societal needs would inevitably be greater than the resources available to the government and, therefore, public resources needed to be managed efficiently to prevent losses and wastage.