Major (rtd) Courage Quashigah, Minister for Health, has stated that the on-going Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) hearings of the financial management status of Ministries, Departments and Agencies is a clear evidence of the government's resolve to improve financial management practices in the public sector.
He said since the enactment of the Financial Administration Act (Act 654), Financial Administration Regulation 2004, LI 1802, Procurement Act 2003, (Act 663) and others, there had been substantial progress in strengthening financial management in the public sector, including the Ministry of Health.
In an address read for him at the first National Congress of the Health Accounting Staff Association of Ghana (HASAG) in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, yesterday, Major Quashigah, pointed out that, improving financial management had been one of the cornerstones of the government's management agenda, adding that, the PAC hearings was an effective tool to drive transformation and improvement in financial management.
The four-day congress is under the theme: 'transforming financial management and accountability in the health sector.'
The Minister said even though financial management systems, internal controls, checks and procedures have been improved in the health sector, there was the need for further strengthening, adding that, there must be increased emphasis on establishing, assessing, correcting and reporting on internal controls, checks and procedures by the internal audit unit of both the Ministry and the Ghana Health Service.
Major Quashigah, said HASAG members had crucial role to play to meet these challenges so that, reliable, useful and timely financial information was available not only for day to day management, but also to provide a key cost performance data needed to address fiscal crisis.
Dr Elias Sory, Director General of the Ghana Health Service in an address read for him, said the Service had embarked on a computerization programme to provide modern accounting software to facilitate proper financial administration and enhance efficiency and accurate financial reporting system in the health sector.
He said the volume of work, which had been compounded by the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme, had brought a number of challenges to the accounting staff, who were also inadequate.
Dr Sory said it was therefore, important to build an efficient ICT infrastructure in the regional, district and institutional levels to enable the staff cope with the challenges and promote efficiency. He advised the accounting officers to educate themselves on modern information applications in order to be able to perform their duties effectively.
Mr Maxwell Obuobisah, National President of HASAG, said the accounting class was a unique group with varied academic and professional backgrounds but still faced numerous challenges in terms of proper job placement of staff and carrier progression within the health sector.
He appealed to his colleagues to take advantage of the current increases in their salaries to work hard to complement the efforts of the government.