Government has commenced a forensic audit into the validity of the unaccounted 7 billion cedis spent by the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
The unaccounted expenditure was uncovered during preparations for the 2017 budget and economic policy of Government.
A statement released today February 2nd,2017, from the Finance Ministry copied to Citi Business News revealed that a number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies in preparations for the 2017 budget, submitted unbudgeted projects and commitments of about GH¢7billion during meetings with the Finance Ministry and the Economic Management Team.
”As part of the process, the Honourable Minister has held bilateral meetings with the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies to review their policies and ensure consistency with the Government’s medium term policy strategy. During the review and audit process, MDAs submitted unbudgeted projects and commitments of about GH¢7billion, which will have to be validated as the budget process is continuous”.
According to the statement in order to validate the unbudgeted expenditure a forensic team has been set up to conduct a forensic audit to confirm the validity of the expenses and whether value for money was obtained.
Genesis of the matter
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, early this week revealed that, an amount of GHC 7 Billion spent by the previous NDC government, had not been accounted for.
“In preparing for this year’s Budget for example, we have been very surprised by the fiscal data, the data on our expenditure and our revenue. As we interrogated the data, we realized to our shock that, expenditure amounting to 7 billion cedis was made by the previous government, but never disclosed. These come from 2014, 2015 and 2016, so where have they been hiding all these years? How are you supposed to manage an economy with faulty data? And so we have to emphasize that, getting the data right is really very key because it throws the entire budget into disarray because you are going into 2017 and suddenly you are told by the way that there is 7 billion you have to pay next year that you did not anticipate. This is the reality.”
Minority denies allegations
But the Minority in Parliament have dismissed his allegations.
A statement from the Minority stated that “We are displeased by the tendency of the Vice President to rush with information to the public and the media particularly the structural measures and reforms without taking time to understand the rational for the reforms and initiatives.”
The Minority explained that, the Ghc 7 billion that the Vice President Dr. Bawumia is talking about “is as a result of a major initiative or reform on government contracts and expenditure, which is part of the GIFMIS project that the new administration is expected to continue implementing. The framework is also covered in the new Public Financial Management (PFM) Act, under the Budget Responsibility provisions.”
The Minority explained that, the fund was used for “part of the contract database and outstanding commitment, and does not constitute conventional definition of arrears. The government is obliged to incorporate the commitments, as a first charge on the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA’s) budget 2017.”
Meanwhile the Finance Ministry has stated that going forward it ”will rationalise public expenditures, strengthen contract management, and realign statutory funds to priority projects”.
It added that ”We are committed to ensuring fiscal discipline and good economic governance, focusing on transparent and accountable use of public resources in accordance with the new Public Financial Management law”.
By: Vivian Kai Lokko/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana