The Executive Director of the Financial Accountability and Transparency-Africa (FAT-Africa), Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, has stated that it is important for Ghanaians to monitor the implementation of national budgets.
That, he said, will allow people at the grassroots to fully participate in the budget’s implementation and not make them mere listeners during budget readings on the floor of Parliament.
He was speaking at a public budget reading forum in Kumasi as part of activities of a project embarked upon by FAT-Africa in partnership with the International Institute of Information Communication Technology (ICT) Journalism, also known as Penplusbytes.
The “Budget Tracking Project” seeks to produce a simplified, easily comprehensible and reader-friendly citizens’ copy of the budget statement.
Mr Dapaah, who is a former Member of Parliament for Afigya Kwabre North and former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said it was important for Ghanaians to pursue their own welfare by making information on the national budget readily available through the publication of what he calls “Citizens’ Budget”.
The budget, in his view, must be presented in a language that avoids jargons and has a format that the ordinary Ghanaian can understand.
He also advised citizens to be involved in monitoring the implementation of the budget after it had been read by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.
FAT-Africa is a civil society organisation and think tank that advocates and promotes good financial governance with the aim of creating an enabling climate to nurture a culture of efficient public sector and financial management principles in Africa.
Penplusbytes is a non-profit organisation that seeks to empower the media in the coverage of governance, innovations and mining, oil and gas, through the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
The joint project, with funding and technical support from STAR-Ghana, taps into the widely acclaimed core competence of Penplusbytes in applying and delivering cutting-edge news to enhance civil and government interaction. It also utilises FAT-Africa’s extensive expertise in promoting financial transparency and budget monitoring to implement the project successfully, and also ensure that the project’s outcomes are fully achieved.
The Project Director, Jerry Sam, said the programme was in recognition of the need to track government expenditure, how well policies are being implemented, and to what extent governments were fulfilling their commitment to citizens.
He also said it aimed at courting the participation of citizens in the governance process by producing and disseminating a simplified version of the budget information to help demystify government budgeting and financial governance so that the public can demand accountability from the government.