Kan Dapaah calls for fiscal responsibility

Mr Albert Kan Dapaah(right)addressing participants at the workshop.With him are Ms Mary Addah(middle)and Mr George Osei-Bimpeh Photo,Seth OsabukleMr. Albert Kan-Dapaah, a former Minister of Energy, has called for a Fiscal Responsibility Law which will be used to punish persons who misuse public funds.

Mr. Kan-Dapaah said the existing legal framework was not ruthless enough to deter people from “stealing from the state.”

His call stemmed from what he called non action against persons who use state funds inappropriately in the discharge of their duties by the state.

According to him, the lack of harsher punishments for officials who flout the financial administration laws of the country was the reason the practice persisted.

Citing the example of Brazil where the president of that country is facing impeachment charges for being financially imprudent, the once Member of Parliament for the Afigya-Sekyere constituency in the Ashanti Region said if that culture was adopted in Ghana, public servants would measure the decisions they took on behalf of the state.

Mr. Kan-Dapaah was speaking at the National Forum on Open Governance organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and the Public Sector Reform Secretariat (PSRS) in Accra yesterday.

The forum was aimed at improving service delivery and accountability through the Open Governance Project (OGP).

The OGP is a scorecard in the assessment of government performance in the areas of accountability, transparency, citizen participation and innovation.

Operational in 63 countries, Ghana signed onto the OGP declaration in September 2011 which enjoins it to develop its OGP national action plan through a broad base consultative process for submission to the global secretariat of the project.

Mr. Kan-Dapaah however said signing onto the OGP has not delivered Ghana from governance shrouded in secrecy and hidden from the citizenry.

To the former Energy Minister who is a chartered accountant, public funds have not well be accounted for and that he said was evident in the annual report of the Auditor General.

He said Ghana, for example in the 2016 fiscal year, would spend over 95 per cent of internally generated funds on salaries, interest on loans and statutory funds leaving it with five per cent to undertake projects.

This, he said, was because there is so much wastage in the system and until the loopholes were blocked and ghost names expunged from the public roll, the country would continue to suffocate with loans.

To this end, the former law maker called on stakeholders to be supportive of the OGP which should be used as the spring board to push for a Fiscal Responsibility Law.

By Julius Yao Petetsi & Benedicta Ampadu Okyere                                                


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