The government, in 2009, launched the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), as part of the Public Financial Management Reform.
Under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant General’s Department, GIFMIS is meant to replace all stand-alone Legacy Financial Management System at the Ministries, Department, Agencies, (MDAs) and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
It is primarily aimed at achieving improved comprehensiveness, transparency and effective management of public financial resources in line with the government’s efforts of creating a more business-friendly environment and invariably through improved fiscal discipline.
More importantly it is to contain budget deficit as well as eliminate corruption whiles promoting good governance.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, was forthright in his comment on GIFMIS when he said it was part of governments effort at cracking down on financial malpractices and wasteful public spending.
Although the introduction of the reforms is commendable, it appears not all the MDAs and MMDA are adhering to the directive to use the GIFMIS for their financial transaction with government.
This situation might have left the Accountant General’s Department frustrated forcing it to issue a stern warning to the MDAs last week.
According to the Controller and Account General’s Department, MDAs would be denied funding from the Consolidated Funds if they refuse to hold their financial transactions through GIFMIS platform.
In effect, the budgeted funds for these MDAs would be blocked or not released to any state agency that refuses to enroll and go live on GIFMIS platform.
The Accountant General, Mr Eugene Ofosuhene, did not mince words when he told Financial Controllers, Heads of Accounts, Treasury Officers and Chief Accountants of MDA’s MMDAs and other state agencies at a meeting in Accra, last week that non-compliance could also lead to non-payment of salaries of staff institutions that refuse to operate on the GIFMIS.
The Ghanaian Times is impressed with the position taken by the CAGD who might have come to the conclusion because of the persistent and deliberate refusal of some of the institutions and agencies to use the GIFMIS platform.
We would like to urge the Accountant General to crack the whip, since it is an offence under the Public Financial Management Act (ACT 921), 2016, for institutions to fail to operate on the GIFMIS platform for all financial transactions.
It is our view that many of the institutions may deliberately be refusing to comply with the directive for their parochial interest and these institutions must be brought to book.
On the flip side, however, there must be genuine reason or reasons why some might not be on the platform.
Those facing genuine challenges must speak up and be helped to migrate onto the platform.
We believe that the government must set timelines for all institution to work towards after which all those who fail to enrol must be punished.