Members of Parliament (MPs) from 10 West African countries are meeting in Accra to strategise on how to prevent corruption and misappropriation of public funds in state institutions in their respective countries.
The meeting is also to equip the legislators with the requisite knowledge and skills to improve on their budget oversight functions to ensure accountability in their countries.
The MPs, who belong to public accounts committees (PACs) in their countries, are from Ghana, Nigeria, Niger, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and The Gambia.
The rest are from Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Mali and Liberia.
The five-day conference is being organised by the African Organisation of Public Accounts Committees (AFROPAC), in collaboration with the Africa Association of Public Accounts Committees (WAAPAC) and supported by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ).
It is on the theme: “Budget Cycles in African Parliamentary Systems: Defining an active role and contribution of legislators in Public Finance Management”.
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The Vice-Chairperson of AFROPAC, Ms Angelline Osegge, said Parliaments had the responsibility of holding governments accountable.
She said ensuring effective public financial management and budgetary oversight by MPs was a crucial element in regulating the use of public funds by governments.
Ms Osegge, therefore, urged members of PACs in the sub-region to enhance their respective public financial management systems and ensure effective budget oversight and controls at all levels.
“As representatives of parliamentary bodies in charge of public financial management system supervision, we share a crucial common goal to promote the democratic accountability of our countries’ governments regarding their handling of public finances,” she stated.
Ms Osegge further challenged MPs of ruling political parties
She added that MPs’ differences should never supercede the national interest.
The vice-chairman of Ghana’s PAC, Mr Edward Dery, asked MPs to play their supervisory roles effectively to prevent the perpetuation of corruption and misapplication of public funds.
According to him, that would save the nation some funds for infrastructure development and other socio-economic activities.
He observed that the citizenry
Mr Dery said Ghana’s PAC would be making an application to Parliament to be given the mandate to conduct enquiries to establish whether its recommendations had been implemented or not.
He said such a mandate had become necessary to ensure that the PAC’s recommendations did not end up in Parliament but were respected by the various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the country.