General News of Tuesday, 5 December 2017
The Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) is proposing that Local Governments be allowed to award all contracts within their threshold in order to ensure value for money and also give meaning to local governance in the country.
The Institute is of the view that taking away contracts within their threshold and awarding them at Accra did not only promote lack of monitoring to ensure contractors of such projects delivered quality work but also contributed to undermining the powers of the Local Authorities.
Dr Eric Oduro Osae, Dean in charge of Studies and Research at the ILGS who made the appeal during a one-day orientation workshop for members of the Upper West Regional Audit Committee in Wa noted that under the principle of subsidiarity, contracts were supposed to be awarded by the Local Government so far as it was within their threshold.
“But in most cases, you will find that contracts within their threshold may be awarded from Accra or at the regional level. This way, Local Government has no control in terms of monitoring the work of the contractor to ensure that the right thing is done”, he said.
“When that happens you undermine the powers of the Local Authorities and that is definitely wrong – even if the project is within a particular Local Authority’s threshold but has been imposed on Accra, they should still get that particular Assembly involved so that they can help monitor the contractor to deliver value for money”, he advised.
On the orientation for the Audit Committee members, the Dean in charge of Studies and Research at the ILGS noted that basically, they have passed a new Public Financial Management Act that made provision for every Local Government to have an Audit Committee made up of professionals from the private sector including; Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICA) and Internal Auditors among others.
Dr. Osae explained that these Audit Committees were supposed to help the Assemblies to inject financial discipline into their Financial Management System, noting however that ‘these people did not know much about Local Government operations.’
He said the training was therefore meant to expose them to the processes of the Local Government System for them to understand their financial management processes so that they could better advise the Assemblies in the implementation of the audit recommendations.
“So we want that after the training, they will go back and work to reduce the serious audit queries that are raised in the Annual Auditor General’s Report”, he said.