‘Failure to meet targets affects budgets’

Business News of Monday, 16 March 2015

Source: Graphic Online

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The inability of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to meet targets set by donor DPs has led to the country losing out on donor support for its annual budgets for the period 2010 to 2012.

The donor partners, together with the MDAs, had agreed to meet certain performance targets and therefore the release of the promised budgetary support from the donors were based on the condition that those targets were met.

However, some of the MDAs failed to meet their targets, thus leading to the country’s inability to access the support.

This came to light when the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament took consideration of the financial audit report of the Auditor-General on the verification study of multi-donor budgetary support inflows between 2010 and 2012.

The culpable MDAs include the Ministry of Finance and the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD), the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Ministry of Water Resources, Works & Housing.

The Multi Donor Budgetary Support (MDBS) programme is a mechanism through which the development partners provide financial assistance through loans and grants to the government of Ghana (GoG) to support growth and poverty reduction activities.

Under the programme, funds are transferred through the Bank of Ghana to the CAGD to support the overall budget of the nation.

The Chairman of PAC, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, said the report mentioned deficiencies in the MDBS system and that the transfers made into the Consolidated Fund by the development partners under the MDBS programme for the three years under review amounted to GH¢1,830,042,933.26.

He noted that “disbursements from the various DPs totalling GH¢972,785,355.88 for the three-year period were not acknowledged. We note that the ministries did not have structured systems in place to acknowledge inflows as required by the framework memorandum signed between the GoG and the DPs.”

Mr Agyemang-Manu also said a transfer of GH¢20.1 million from the MDBS inflow was not captured in the public accounts of Ghana for the year 2012, adding that an amount which was the equivalent of US$19.8 million from the government of Canada was reported as GH¢40.94 million in the public accounts for the year 2012.

In his response, a Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, explained that his outfit did not have control over all the performance triggers, adding that in the future, the ministry would endeavour to minimise the triggers to financial ones that could be controlled by the ministry.

He also said an audit report had flagged the non-acknowledgement of disbursements and that the ministry agreed that there was a weakness in the system.

Mr Forson said the ministry, as part of recommendations from the 2010 audit, had directed that each respective DP country desk officer should be responsible for acknowledging all disbursements received.

“In addition, the MDBS secretariat should periodically remind them of this obligation,” he added.

The PAC, therefore, urged the government to ensure that relevant MDAs set realistic and attainable targets in order to access the budgetary support that accounted for 20 per cent of the national budget.

“If we do all these things well and take advantage of donor pledges, that will help us a lot but we fail to do these things and go back begging. Next time let us set targets that are realistic and achievable,” Mr Agyemang-Manu admonished.

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