A five-member audit committee, mandated to ensure proper and effective financial management practices at the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation was inaugurated in Accra last Wednesday.
This is in accordance with the provisions in Sections 86 and 87 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), which require that all government institutions establish audit committees
The Committee is chaired by Mr Kwabena Hemeng-Ntiamoah, Internal Audit Agency; the other members are Mr Thomas Nii Ashaley Thompson-Aryee, Internal Audit Agency, Mrs Agnes Yeboah, ICAG, Mr Charles Mensah, member, and Mrs Dora Darkwa Mensah, also a member of the committee.
Delivering her address, the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said public financial management systems were key to transparent and accountable governance and that a country without an effective public financial management system risked underdevelopment due to the loss of public funds.
She therefore, charged the Audit Committee to fulfil its responsibilities under the Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 (LI 2378), the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) as amended, the guidelines for effective functioning of audit committees and other applicable financial laws.
The sector Minister further indicated that, corporate governance was about establishing processes and structure to ensure reliable achievement of corporate objectives.
The sector Minister disclosed that, “In the last two years we’ve seen much improvement in our cash management controls, procurement management systems, financial reporting, and payroll management among other things,
“Now, it’s unprecedented that we got additional funding from the World Bank which exceeded the original funding of $97m which was allocated to this project.
That, she said, was due to the importance of digitalisation to government, and the work that has been done, and the efficient management of those resources that made it possible for them to even get more.
She also disclosed that, “now we’re in the process of completing a successor project to the E-Project, which will end in 2023, (That’s the Ghana Digital Acceleration Project). And the lessons from the previous one has made it possible for us to start working on an envelope of $200m for the digital acceleration project, which is even more than the E-Transform Project.
The Director-General, Internal Audit Agency, Dr. Eric Oduro Osae, who swore in the committee, urged them to bring their rich experience to bear on the Ministry’s operations and performance with particular emphasis on enterprise risk management, good corporate governance, and global best practices.
“Therefore, I expect the Audit Committee to facilitate, support, persuade, advise, help establish and be highly interested in sound governance and internal controls of all its five elements such as control environment, risk assessment of financial and operational activities, control activities, information communication and monitoring activities, to ensure that established controls are working as intended,” Dr. Eric Oduro Osae, stressed.
Dr Oduro Osae, said: “l believe if the newly sworn members perform their work well, then the IAA will have no need to battle with them” and urged the members to work hand-in-hand with the Ministry and not act as administrative wing for management.
He was of the conviction that, expertise of the members of the Committee would be brought to bear on their professional duties to support the Ministry to run effectively.
Chief Director at the Ministry, Mrs Magdalene Apenteng, said, the importance of the Audit Committee in corporate governance could not be overemphasised.
Mr Kwabena Hemeng-Ntiamoah, on behalf of the Committee, assured the IAA and the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation that, they would work diligently, as required and provide professional direction in accordance with the rules of engagement.