The Minority in Parliament is casting doubt over the ability of the House to pass the Public Financial Management Bill (PFM) before session ends on Friday, July 29, 2016.
Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, is requesting that the legislature passes the Bill which addresses the persistent weakness in fiscal failures in accountability mechanisms and provides a clear budget process map that strengthens the link between fiscal strategy and policy.
The Minority argues that the urgency with the passage of the Bill is due to pressures from the International Monetary Fund in relation to the economic assistance program with Ghana, does not permit further scrutiny to ensure value for money.
But Seth Terkper insists the move forms part of government’s fiscal stability measures and not from the IMF.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, Ranking Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei further implored the House to critically reconsider the decision.
“Just like we do not want to dictate to the IMF, they should also not try to do same to us. Now we are in a quagmire and leadership would have to find a very diplomatic way of convincing us (the representatives of the people) but we are rising on Friday and this is a serious issue too,” he stated.
Dr. Akoto added, “Considering that this is a very serious matter, I am requesting that during the joint caucus or before, such decisions should be made.”
The Ranking Member further stated that the limited time offered for proper scrutiny will require that Members of the House avert their minds to the proposals.
“This Bill contains 100 clauses and we’re supposed to rise on Friday yet we are expected to stay on because of pressure from somewhere? I think this is very serious issue to look at. So Members should avert their minds to it,” he observed.
Finance Minister seeks approval
Meanwhile addressing the Legislature to solicit their support for the passage of the Bill, Seth Terkper was hopeful the law will streamline the management of the country’s financial resources.
“The primary need for us is to have an omnibus law that will regulate our public financial management in a better way,” he stated.
Mr. Terkper added that the PFM Bill will also cushion government against the risks associated with public institutions like the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“It is important that we have in our public financial management law best practices in relation to public debts, practices in relation to financing; deficits and enhance further the fiscal risks that often come with quasi fiscal institutions like SOEs and MDAs,” Mr. Terkper asserted.
Public Financial Management Bill
A report by the Finance Committee on the PFM Bill explained that the legislation has become necessary following weaknesses including lack of credibility in the budget process, unpredictability during budget execution, limited expenditure controls and cash rationing all of which contribute to the problem of chronic and persistent arrears.
The Bill will among others also empower the Finance Minister to create a Sinking Fund for the redemption of specified medium to long term debt obligations of government.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana