Controller identifies over 12,000 accounts

The Cash Management Directorate of the Controller Accountant General’s Department has identified over 12,000 accounts belonging to the Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs) and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

Out of the figure, 6,000 of these accounts have been closed while the department is taking steps to reduce the numbers to an acceptable level.

Mr. Siraj Tanko, Chief Accountant at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), said this on Monday at a hands-on refresher training for officers involved in financial transaction under that ministry and its agencies.

Over the next three days, the participants – including budget officers, stores, accountants, internal auditors, procurement officers and the Chief Director – will be schooled on the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) and Public Financial Management (PMF) regulations.

They will also be updated on the roles and responsibilities of each person in the value chains, to avoid officers transgressing into another’s responsibility.

Using one case during the Public Accounts Committee as an instance, Alhaji Tanko said an agency had over one hundred different accounts.

“What happened is that the agency was dealing with many donors who requested it to open separate accounts. At the end of the day, that agency had money spread across them all. This is not right under the Treasury Single Account,” he explained.

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He acknowledged that the move by government to limit agencies to four accounts is the best tool to ensure effective cash management, and also ensure that their accounts are moved to the Bank of Ghana.

Per the new directive, Mr. Tanko, said MMDAs can only have accounts for operations, consolidation, donor and internally generated funds, adding that it is in the best interest of the state.

On some of the new regulations of the PFM that came into force in May, he explained that in an event of asset disposal for a MMDA, the mandate rests on the Chief Director – not the political head.

Mr. Tanko stated that the Chief Director is responsible for all approvals, and clarified that the system gives them the opportunity to query transactions.

He cautioned that the regulations require that all financial transactions need to go through the GIFMIS, and that the law will deal ruthlessly with any officer who fails to comply.

Mr. Daniel Sahnoon, Functional Lead at the GIFMIS Secretariat, reiterated that the GIFMIS is meant to replace all stand-alone legacy Financial Management Systems at government agencies.

He said GIFMIS also has the possibility of interfacing other systems which need to be maintained – adding that this is to assist in achieving improved comprehensiveness, transparency and effective management of public financial resources.

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The GIFMIS is an integrated computerised Financial Management System that facilitates budget preparation and execution, accounting and financial reporting, cash management, assets management, and human resource and payroll management.

Mr. Sahnoon said: “The implementation of GIFMIS is in line with government’s efforts aimed at creating a more business-friendly environment, and to invariably harness opportunities for the people of Ghana through improved fiscal discipline, containing deficit, and eliminating corruption, as part of concerted efforts to ensure good governance”.

He said government is committed to cracking down on financial malpractices and wasteful public spending.

Mr. Sahnoon noted that the priority on achieving the targets set out in PFM strategy recognises that achieving overall PFM improvements requires a combination of right policy changes, political commitment to reforms, and the design and implementation of appropriate systems and tools to enable better outcomes from the new policy orientations of government.

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