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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

PUBLIC DEBT-GHANA RELIED ON LENDERS FOR INFO ON DEBT

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Mr. Johnson Akuamoah- Auditor-General

It is emerging that the government of Ghana actually relied on lending institutions to give it information on how much it owed them.

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This incredible information is contained in the Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Sector Accounts of Ghana (General Government) for the Year Ended 31 December 2020.

According to the Auditor-General, under ‘External Debt Balance’, without recourse to the PIUs to ensure consistency in the debt portfolio, they noted that DMD (Debt Management Division of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department) rather relied on notifications from lending institutions for an update of its records.

The Auditor-General further observed, “In view of the discrepancies noted, we were unable to confirm the total amount of GH¢112,509,448,138 reported as the external debt balance in the 2019 Public Fund accounts. To ensure consistency in Public debt reporting, we urged DMD to enhance its relationship with the PIUs for the purposes of effective reconciliation with its lending institutions.”

In effect, the government of Ghana was relying on information supplied by institutions the government owed, to update its records on how much we owe.

These incredible revelations are at page 17 of Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Sector Accounts of Ghana (General Government) For the Year Ended 31 December 2020.

The Public Accounts of Ghana has been much in the news of late, over the decision of government to impose additional taxes on Ghanaians in the form of the E-Levy. Questions have been asked as to whether the government is being tardy with public accounts.

Discrepancies in Accounts Figures Reported

In the same report, the Auditor-General reports that in its view, the non-use of the GIFMIS, the mandatory system for financial recording to ensure consistency and uniformity in reporting largely accounted for the poor state of affairs.

“Also, the disparities in our opinion occurred due to poor coordination and inefficient data collection by both CAGD and MDAs. In view of these discrepancies, we could not certify the reliability of the affected accounts as disclosed in the financial statement. We urge CAG to step up its oversight responsibility to ensure MDAs make use of the GIFIMIS platform. We also urge CAG to issue a circular to all MDAs with IGF requesting them to submit their mandatory quarterly returns to the appropriate offices. Management Response CAGD has issued an additional circular to all Covered Entities on the mandatory usage of GIFMIS.

Budget Overruns

On Budget Overruns, the Auditor-General stated that its review of the accounts of 20 MDAs revealed excess expenditures of their goods and services, compensation, and non-financial assets over the revised budget allocation.

“To minimize the risk of budget overruns, we urged CAGD to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the PFM Act,” the Auditor-General stated.

 

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