‘GIFMIS can plug financial loopholes’

A financial expert, Komla Deku, has asked the government to roll out the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to cover all the assemblies, to plug loopholes in the revenue mobilisation efforts of the assembly.

“It is sad that this is being pilot-tested in only seven assemblies, it should be rolled over in all the assemblies,” Mr. Deku, who is the Managing Director of Dekhab Associates, said at the ongoing 66th Annual New Year School and Conference .

The GIFMIS involves the use of electronic financial modules in the management of public funds to ensure accountability and transparency in the public financial management system.

Mr Deku said revenue mobilisation was a challenge to the assemblies, stressing that because of the “human intervention” in revenue mobilisation, most revenues were not properly accounted for by the revenue collectors.

He was of the view that when the GIFMIS was rolled over in the entire 216 assemblies it would help them manage their revenue mobilsation efforts by reducing the human intervention that results in the loss of revenue.

The Managing Director of Dekhab said revenue mobilisation in some districts in the Western Region had plummeted following the use of the financial electronic system under the Local Government Development programme, which was supported by United States Agency for International Development and GIZ of Germany.

Mr Deku identified weak tax administration policies and lack of political will as some of the factors that lead to low revenue generation adding, “We do not know the number of tax-payers and their locations”.

He explained that the GIFMIS would enable the assemblies to have a data base of their sources of revenue, as well as assist the assemblies in their billing for service delivery, to generate the needed revenue to improve service delivery.

Mr. Deku said when used effectively, the GIFMIS would lead to efficient revenue generation and also reduce the administrative cost of revenue collection as pertains with the manual system.

He stressed the need to build the capacities of the assemblies in the use of electronic resources for revenue generation adding that “Electronic revenue system will lead to massive efficiency in tax collection”.

The Managing Director of Dekhab, urged the government to review the cost of gazetting the fee fixing resolutions of assemblies, saying that “the cost of gazetting is even higher than the revenue collected”.

Mr. Deku implored assemblies to develop effective communication strategies to facilitate revenue mobilsation, adding that tax collection was difficult, it was not easy to ask people to come and pay taxes, without effective public education system.

Mr. Joseph Antwi, Head of the Fiscal Decentralisation Unit of the Ministry of Finance said, fiscal decentralisation was based on “Funds-Follow-Function” principle, and urged the assemblies to be conversant with their functions and draw up the appropriate projects and funds to justify the release of the funds to prosecute their development agendas.  

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Emmanuel Agyekum, who chaired the function, urged the assemblies to embrace and equip themselves with the necessary information and communication tools to be able to be efficient in service delivery.

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman


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