The Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Mr Kofi Poku-Edusei on Friday, expressed concern that finance, budget and planning officers of the ministries, departments and agencies, and the assemblies, have not been making adequate use of budgetary provisions to ascertain areas that could be used to enhance the standards for the people.
He expressed regret that although budgets are meant for the improvement of the living standards, more often than not, the various components meant for that purpose, were made to “lie waste due to ignorance”.
Mr Poku-Edusei was speaking at a day's forum to enhance the knowledge of finance, budget and planning officers of the various district assemblies and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the highlights of the 2007 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to enable them to identify beneficial areas.
It was organized jointly by the ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
He said this was because officials, who are supposed to see to its implementation, particularly at the district level, failed to read the budget statement to identify beneficial areas, and to contact the appropriate ministry for onward consideration and implementation.
He said for instance, the assemblies could take advantage of various budgetary components that make provisions for the improvement of sectors like health, rural development and environment, as well as enhance their resource generation.
He said there was therefore the need for the participants “to be vested in” the contents of the budget and subsequent implementation and stressed that as technical staff, it was imperative for them to study it and ensure that they captured the beneficial components.
The Minister, tasked them to ensure that they “maximized all aspects of the budget” to the advantage of their people to help achieve the desired objectives.
For his part, Mr Joseph Aikins of the Budget Division of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning repeated calls on public sector workers to expose tax evaders and smugglers to help boost government revenue.
He pointed out that since workers paid the chunk of the taxes, used for payment of salaries and for other development programmes, they should be vigilant in exposing such miscreants, to enable the government to increase their salaries.
Mr Aikins urged all Ghanaians to be patriotic and pay their taxes voluntarily and promptly for accelerated development.