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04.05.2007 General News

Budget officers do not see national budget statement

By myjoyonline

The mystery surrounding the inability of an apparently sound macro economic environment translating into concrete economic bliss in Ghana has been unveiled at a workshop in Sekondi in the Western Region.

The workshop discovered that District Budget Officers (DBOs) do by tradition go about budgeting without ever laying hands or updating themselves with the nation's annual budget statement.

The unfortunate revelation was made when DBOs openly admitted at the workshop designed for Budget, Finance and Planning Officers at Sekondi. The officials admitted that they did not have copies of the 2007 Annual Budget Statement and consequently have not been working with it even though they agreed that it was the tool they were expected to work with to meet national goals.

Ms. Eva Mends, Head of the Budget Development Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and her team had sought to understand from the workshop if every District had a copy of the 2007 Annual Budget Statement.

Not one had it, prompting a visibly overwhelmed Ms. Mends to instruct that every District Assembly thereafter buys at least one copy of the budget statement in order to acquaint themselves with the micro by knowing how much has been allocated to them for the actualization of national goals.

Ms. Mends charged the District officers to be proactive in the implementation of budget statements by sourcing the reliefs made in the budgets especially for decentralized departments to encourage growth in the various districts.

She described revenue mobilization in the districts as pathetic and explained that it was because they were not innovative with revenue generating programmes and also lacked knowledge of the national direction.

She therefore charged them to cease relying on central government through the District Assemblies Common Fund and HIPC Funds and rather put in a little more effort.

Section Head for Good Governance and Leader of the team Kwadwo Awua-Peasah said the interaction was part of an ongoing road show on the 2007 budget aimed at pushing through government policies and issues on the 2007 budget statement.

It also functions as an outlook for the 2008 budget and called for collective efforts to move the budget forward.

Regional Minister Anthony Evans Amoah said in his welcome address that the• the workshop was vital for revenue generation in the country and charged participants to come out with workable plans and strategies to move the region and the country forward.

He said there was a very low absorption rate in the public service, because monies allocated were more often than not unutilized. He pleaded with the District Officers to share information on what they learned with their colleagues to make them helpful to their Districts and the region.

According to him even though most companies in the region were ready to assist the districts in many critical areas, planners did not involve them in strategic planning.

Credit: Network Herald