Some policy analysts have called for a provision in the Fiscal Responsibility law to punish Finance Ministers who spend beyond the national budget, leading to huge deficits.
According to them, the country can use the fiscal responsibility act yet to be laid before parliament to prevent acts of fiscal indiscipline that results in budget overruns.
Speaking to Citi Business News on the issue at a forum organized by the the Natural Resource Governance Institute(NRGI), a policy analyst with the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Dr. Steve Manteaw urged parliament to prescribe stiffer punishment for Finance Ministers before the policy is passed into law.
He pointed out that the Public Financial Management Act which is expected to protect the public purse is silent on specific sanctions against the Finance Minister—a situation he describes as deficient.
“One of the failings of the Public Financial Management Act in terms of the weakness of the Fiscal Responsibility provision is that the Act seems to have provided sanctions for everybody who has a responsibility for managing the public resources except the Finance Minister who has ultimate responsibility for decision regarding how we manage the fiscal sphere”.
Dr. Manteaw was of the view that holding the Finance Minister accountable for overspending will prevent misappropriation of public funds.
He added that thea clear punishment will also deter the Finance Minster from disobeying statutory regulations in the budget and constitution.
“For instance, if you have a situation where a minister is supposed to allocate a certain percentage of mineral royalties back to host communities; he collects the minerals royalty alright but fails to obey the law. I will expect that the minister for finance will be held personally liable for breaches of the law, regarding the management of public finance”
Dr. Manteaw stressed that holding the Finance Minister personally responsible will inject discipline into the public management system and enhance efficiency.
By: Lawrence Segbefia/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana