Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, former chairman of the Public Account Committee of Parliament has urged government to do more to ensure easy comprehension and transparency of annual budget statements.
He said this would enable the citizenry offer constructive inputs and critiques on how revenues have been utilized to the benefit of the entire masses.
This he noted is the way to go to give opportunity to the people to exercise their democratic rights to demand accountability and prudent management of state resources which the government holds in trust for economic development.
He said the current exclusion of the citizenry in the planning of the country’s budgets could partly be blamed for the prevailing mismanagement, misappropriation and unbridled dissipation of public sector funds which has led to higher fiscal deficits.
The former MP for Afigya-Kwabre-North and Executive Director of Financial Accountability and Transparency FATS-AFRICA, a civil Society Organisation (CSO), was leading discussions at a media sensitization workshop in Kumasi.
Dubbed “Road show on Citizens’ Budget”, it was put together by penplusbytes, a media organization committed to upgrading the knowledge of journalists on the use of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) to boost their work.
The Penplusbytes also creates ICT platforms for CSOs, public and private institutions and also works to facilitate citizens’ participation in governance through ICT platforms.
The event was used to introduce an abridged and simplified booklet on budget statement and the economic policy of the Government of Ghana for 2014 financial year published to facilitate the public’s participation in governance.
Mr. Dapaah said the government owed the people the responsibility to explain how Revenues- monies collected through taxes or grants were spent-Expenditure, adding that a budget statement is all about Revenues and Expenditure.
Mr. Jerry Sam, Projects Director for Pensplusbytes, outlining some of the reasons for the revision of the Budget Document for the period under review, said it was to ensure continued pursuits of economic growth as well as adjust to accommodate higher interest costs caused by rising interest rates, higher borrowing and exchange rates depreciation.
He said other factors that informed the revision were; higher foreign financed capital expenditure due to exchange rate depreciation, higher subsidies for utilities and petroleum products, upward compensation payments to public sector workers as well as lower tax revenues and grants.
Mr Sam said the booklet also captures figures on the 2012-2013 budgets to serve as reference point or comparative figures for the 2014 budgets.
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