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Why 6,000 Public Accounts Has Been Closed   
 
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27-Aug-2019  
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More than 6,000 accounts run by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in the country have been closed.

This follows the implementation of the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (GIFMIS), which streamlined all expenditure and payments by government agencies and brought the accounts under the Treasury Single Account (TSA) at the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and under the direct supervision of the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) and the Ministry of Finance.

The Chief Accountant at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Mr Siraj Tanko, who said this in Accra yesterday, explained that the MMDAs used to operate 12,000 different accounts that were detected by the cash management directorate of the CAGD.

"They identified over 12,000 accounts operated by the MDAs and MMDAs, out of which 6,000 have been closed. In fact, the idea is to further reduce the number of accounts to 2,000. It will get to a point where MDAs and MMDAs can have only four accounts, made up of an operational account, an internally generated funds (IGFs) account, an account for donors and the Consolidated Fund account," he said.

Mr Tanko, who until June this year was the Director of GIFMIS, said this in an interview with the Daily Graphic at the opening session of a week’s capacity-building workshop on GIFMIS organised for finance officers of the ministry and its agencies yesterday.

Workshop

The workshop was meant to sensitise the users of GIFMIS at MESTI and its agencies, comprising internal auditors, procurement officers and accountants, to Public Financial Management (PFM) regulations and their implications for the efficient management of public funds. Officials from agencies under MESTI, such as the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA), the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) and the National Bio-safety Authority (NBA), are participating in the workshop.

They are being taken through the stages in the public expenditure management process, ranging from budgeting, expenditure initiation, supplier selection to filing.

Diligence

Mr Tanko called on the chief directors of MDAs who served as the spending officers to be diligent in their oversight responsibilities over the public purse.

He urged them to take charge of the use of public funds, instead of leaving that role to political heads at the ministries.

“Chief directors should know that they have the power, under the PFM Act, to be the spending officers who have to give approval for financial transactions, but not the ministers.

“Section 52(8) of the Public Financial Management Act, Act 921, empowers the chief director to approve all disposals, but we are always going to the Flagstaff House for approval for disposal within the MDAs and that should not be the case,” he stressed.

Teamwork

Mr Tanko also said the GIFMIS platform required the active involvement of a chain of professionals at the MDAs, instead of limiting it to only accountants.

He said there was the need for the responsibilities performed by budget officers, internal auditors, procurement managers, storekeepers and accountants to be coordinated to ensure the efficient use of public funds.

The Director of Finance and Administration at MESTI, Mr Alexander Kwaning, urged the participants to do their work well to avoid falling foul of the law, stressing that any breach of the PFM Act had dire consequences, including imprisonment.

He, therefore, charged them to take the workshop seriously, since it would enhance their skills in the use of the GIFMIS.
 
 
 
 

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