Broaden the scope of PAC – Edward Dery

By
Christopher Arko, GNA

Accra, Oct. 22 GNA – Mr Edward Kaale-ewola
Dery, Vice Chairman of the Public Account Committee (PAC) has stressed the need
to broaden the scope of PAC to include the power to investigate or scrutinise
current and committed expenditures of government.

According to him, the committee should also be
empowered to ensure that every public funds appropriated to the executive was
properly accounted for.

Mr Dery was speaking at the opening of the
Regional Public Financial Management Training for Improved Budget Oversight and
Accountability for African Organisation of Public Account Committees (AFROPAC)
in Accra.

The five-day seminar is on the theme: Budget
cycles in African Parliamentary systems: Defining an active role and
contribution of legislators in public finance management, sponsored by the
German Technical Cooperation (GIZ) and attended by 80 participants from 10
countries.

Mr Dery added that the wider the PAC mandate,
the greater its potential to deter wasteful wrongdoing and encourage the better
management of public resources.

He however argued that having broad mandate or
scope was of little use if the committee was unable to identify major issues
that adversely impacted accountability in public office.

He said the optimal use of scarce financial
resources could only take place where there was proper coordination among all
stakeholder’s concern and urged parliament to step up and play their oversight
and accountable role to ensure good governance for the people.

Mr Dery said weak and porous financial
management systems in African countries provided a breeding ground for many
corrupt officials to siphon state resources through dubious means.

He said it was estimated that Africa lost over
$143 billion annually through corruption, which was more than the total Foreign
Direct Investments, multi-lateral and bi-lateral support and loans contracted
by all the African countries.

Mr Dery further stated that the role of parliament
and its watchdog committee had become increasingly important in an effort to
reverse the trend and free up scarce resources critical for the development of
the continent.

Mrs Angelline Osegge, Vice Chairperson,
AFROPAC speaking on the topic “International Peer Learning for Budget
Accountability in Africa” stated that parliaments in Africa were challenged in
holding their government accountable for translating the will of the people
into action and meeting their expectations in relations to the SDGs and other
national and regional development goals.

She said the Public Financial Management (PFM)
is a crucial element in achieving these goals and ensure budgetary oversight
that is efficient, sustainable and effective in promoting the interest of the
people.

She said there were challenges in the work of
parliaments overseeing PFM together with partners in all sectors of the society
and stated that despite the diverse PFM backgrounds described as Anglophone or
Francophone, the countries in reality were more common than sometimes
acknowledged.

He said decades of evolution and reforms as
well as cooperation and learning had led to countries growing closer together
and stressed the need for parliamentary bodies in charge of PFM to promote the
democratic accountability of the countries governments regarding the handling
of public funds.

GNA

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