PARLIAMENT has taken a giant step towards ensuring discipline and transparency in the public financial management system in the country with the passage of the Public Financial Managemet Bill 2016, which seeks to consolidate all the pieces of legislation into one framework for effective operations.
We are told that the Bill, when it receives presidential assent into law, is expected to deepen transparency, accountability and ensure prudent management of the country’s scarce resources.
Public officials found foul of the law will be liable to prison sentences between six months and five years.
We are encouraged by the punitive measures under the new law and trust that it will serve as deterrent for public officials not to want to engage in any form of corruption and embezzlement that will put them in conflict with the law.
This piece of legislation has come at the right time to deal with the canker of corruption in the public sector resulting in huge sums of money that are expected to be used to finance the provision of public goods and service to meet the needs of the public,which only end up into the pockets of disingenuous public servants through corrupt practices.
Embezzlement of public funds and other financial malpractices have become rampant features in the books of the Auditor-General’s Report, as the country seems to look aloof.
Thankfully, Parliament seems to have rescued itself from the barrages of criticism from sections of the public for its seemingly inaction in dealing with public officials who appear before the Public Accounts Committee, and found to have been responsible for financial malfeasance.
While we welcome this piece of legislation, we wish to call for stringent implementation of the law, without fear or favour, to send the signal that this country is serious in dealing with corruption.
Often, it is said that Ghana is good at formulating good laws, but implementation has been a big challenge, thus given a leeway for the continual perpetration of financial malpractices.
We are of the firm belief that the law will stand the test of time, and be effectively implemented. For it is one thing enacting the law and it is another thing implementing it for the desired effect.