Collaborative effort needed to boost PFM reform implementation – Controller-General

The Controller and Accountant General, Kwasi Kwaning-Bosompem, has said there is an urgent need for a strong collaboration between the government, professional accountants, civil society and other relevant stakeholders to help tackle the slow pace of Public Financial Management (PFM) reform implementation in Ghana.

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He said while some successes have been achieved in PFM reform initiatives over the past three decades, progress has been notably sluggish in certain areas.

The challenges, he said, were impacting Ghana's national developmental agenda alongside other socio-economic and political factors.

Mr Kwaning-Bosompem made the call at a PFM focus group engagement organised by the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) in Accra on the theme: Operationising PFM in Ghana: Opportunities and Challenges.”

It brought together representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Controller and Accountant General Department, Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Bank of Ghana (BoG) and Public University Auditors, among others.

They discussed ACCA’s PFM footprints, the qualification, including IPSAS and its value to public sector entities, adoption of standards, efforts by ACCA to support countries and ACCA’s public sector proposition. 

“As a country and as professionals, we should more than ever before, pay key attention to the issues of effective public financial management. There are many technological and digital initiatives taking place in Ghana that are directly or indirectly linked to the PFM processes of the country.

“We need to harness all these initiatives in a very coordinated manner to ensure that we achieve the expected benefits as a Country. One main issue we should avert our minds to is how well we have to manage the transition from one government to another, regarding important PFM reform initiatives that are ongoing,” he said.

Success story

He said effective PFM was vital for accelerating the national development agenda, as seen in Ghana's journey through various PFM reform initiatives.

Ghana's PFM reforms, initiated in the 1990s, aimed to address systemic weaknesses in financial management practices, have led to the launch of programmes such as the Public Financial Management Reform Programme PUFMARP) and subsequent initiatives like Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).

These reforms include legal, budgetary, accounting, cash management, revenue and technology-related reforms to enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency in managing public funds and services. 

Under revenue management reforms, the Controller and Accountant General said initiatives, including the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT), the establishment of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the creation of the Tax Policy Unit, were being implemented to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in revenue mobilisation.

He added that cash management reforms to enhance the efficiency of the government’s cash resources included Treasury Realignment to decentralise treasury functions and the implementation of Treasury Single Accounts (TSA) to consolidate government bank accounts and rationalise multiple operational accounts for effective management.

Greater professionalisation in public finance

In her welcome address, the Global Chief Executive Officer of ACCA, Helen Brand, said the theme underscores the increasing demand for accountability in public finances worldwide, emphasising the critical importance of trust in managing public funds.

She highlighted the significance of a healthy public sector finance sector for ACCA, its members, and everyone involved, emphasising the challenge of aligning public services with society's evolving needs amidst rising demand.

She explained that amidst economic challenges like collapsing cash flows, fractured supply chains, and dwindling consumer confidence, finance professionals face the daunting task of ensuring financial stability and navigating the path to recovery.

Ms Brand said there was a pressing need for greater professionalisation in public finance across the world, adding that “it is important to raise the urgent necessity to educate, train and develop more professional accountants to carry out the critical finance functions which every successful public body needs.”

“We believe that reforms in Public Financial Management can only be achieved through the work of finance professionals with the right skills, training and knowledge. That’s why we launched a joint project with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) at the World Congress of Accountants in Mumbai – aimed at boosting PFM reforms across the globe,” she said.

 

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