We’ve plans for protection of public funds – Dep. Finance Minister

The government has reiterated its commitment to promote accountability and financial responsibility in the use of public funds to enhance national development.

According to Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei-Asare, this commitment was reflected in the increased resources made available to the Audit Service to be able to carry out its mandate and root out corruption.

This year, she said, GH¢596 million was allocated to the Service in support of the work of the Auditor-General, a jump from the GH¢481m budgeted in 2021.

Speaking at the launch of the 2021 financial year audit in Accra yesterday, she stated that, the increased budgetary allocation was also to enable the Service recruit the needed staff to effectively discharge its duties.

The 2021 financial year audit, which would involve the audit of government’s expenditure as well as that of state-owned enterprises, is on the theme “Ensuring fiscal sustainability through revenue collection and accounting- The role of the state auditor.”

The Deputy Minister noted that the government had put in place measures to ensure public funds were well protected in addition to ensuring that the agencies designated to protect state funds were up to the task as prescribed by law.

 Amongst them, she said, was the strengthening of the internal audit agency and the various audit committees in the various public institutions to perform their duties effectively.

Mrs Osei-Asare stated that, the move was aimed at improving the internal control on the use of public funds by ensuring the implementation of policies and recommendations contained in all audit reports in accordance with the Financial Public Act.“The Ministry of Finance is working with the Ghana Audit Service to strengthen the work of the internal auditor to ensure that internal auditing are improved in public institutions to prevent the mismanagement of public funds,” she added.

She urged the Service to intensify public education on the exercise to ensure co-operation and their participation.

The government, MrsOsei-Asare said, would continue to support the service to enable it work diligently.

Mr Johnson AkuamoahAsiedu, Auditor-General, noted the enormous pressure on government’s revenue in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, which could have potentially plunged the country into debts.

He said, the service would, in partnership with all stakeholders work to improve the quality, reliability and transparency of government’s financial management system whilst recommending strict sanctions for offenders.

As part of efforts to publicise the report, he said, the Service would engage groups on the outcomes and recommendations in the report.  The service, the Auditor-General said, had instituted a taskforce to follow up on all financial improprieties to ensure recommendations were implemented.

“This is the only way we can believe that we must win this fight against corruption. We must fight it diligently and objectively without any political undertones,” he added.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS and CECILIA LAGBA

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