Ghana over the weekend launched the 2018 edition of the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) report in Accra.
PEFA is a tool for assessing the status of Public Financial Management (PFM).
The report, which is the fourth edition, establishes a baseline for PFM performance, using the revised Framework that came into effect in early 2016.
This edition contains many changes from the 2011 Framework, and requires a new baseline.
The report, which was produced by the Ministry of Finance, assesses the change in PFM performance since the 2012 PEFA assessment according to the 2016 PEFA Framework guidelines on tracking performance change.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Dr Grace Bediako, the Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), said in the Ministry of Finance’s quest to contribute the President’s aim of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’, priority was placed on achieving the targets set out in the PFM Reforms Strategy.
“To this end, there are a number of ongoing PFM reform initiatives that the Ministry is undertaking including; the operationalisation of the PFM Act 2016 (Act 921) and its related Regulation; the deployment of an Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to all the 254 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and the development of Audit Management Information System (AMIS) to aid the work of the Auditor-General,” she stated.
Others are the deepening of the Treasury Single Account (TSA); the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) to enhance the reporting of our public finances, and the deepening of the implementation of Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS) so as to enhance the management of our wage bill.
Dr Bediako noted that the PEFA Framework, used in the production of the 2018 report had become the ‘gold standard’ for identifying opportunities for PFM performance improvements.
She said the framework had the potential of revealing the principal causes of PFM weaknesses that impacted directly upon the quest of the Government to achieve aggregated fiscal discipline, strategic allocation of resources and efficient delivery of public services to the generality of Ghanaians.
She said the report provided a comprehensive review of the strength and weakness of Ghana’s PFM System with regards to seven thematic areas of the budget reliability: Transparency of public finances; management of assets and liabilities; policy-based fiscal strategy and budgeting; predictability and control in budget execution; accounting and reportig; as well as external scrutiny and audit.
“As a country, we have a long way to go if we are to achieve the President’s aim of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’,” Dr Bediako said.
“I am confident, though, that a new ‘Can Do Spirit’ is now gathering and in due course will lead to our success. To this end, it is my expectation that the content of this report will contribute to the achievement of this laudable goal of the President.”
Dr Mohammed Sani Abdulai, Project Director, Public Financial Management Reform Project (PFMRP), said the rational for this PEFA assessment was to review how well the PFM system of the Government were working and whether its current PFM reform strategy (PFMRS) needed adjustment.
He said the findings of the 2018 PEFA would be used to directly inform the medium-term PFM plans of Development Partners.
Dr Cecilia Fofieh-Ampadu, the Chairman of the Public Services Commission, who chaired the event and launched the report recommended that the report be used as a working document to achieve the targets set out in Ghana’s economic reform agenda.
Mr Michael Ayensu, Coordinating Director, Ministry of Finance, said PEFA sought to improve on the management of Ghana’s public resources; adding that “and in particular from the year 2000, through such assessments we’ve been able to reform not only our financial management, laws and regulations, we’ve also reformed our procurement agreements, and also reformed our auditing arrangement and even our reporting”.
Mr Matthias Feld, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana, Togo and Benin, who lauded Ghana for the report launch, also noted that it marked a significant milestone for the out-going public financial reforms of Ghana.