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11.06.2004 General News

Gov't appreciates EU's 4.6 million Euros aid ...

By GNA

....towards accountability

Accra, June, 1, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama on Friday said the Government was appreciative of the European Union's decision to sustain its capacity building and retooling programme assistance to the Audit Service with 4.6 million Euros, for the second phase.

He said the programme, which aimed at improving the professionalism and efficiency of the 1,400 staff of the Service, was in line with the Government's agenda to ensure financial transparency, probity and accountability in the public sector.

Vice President Mahama said this when he received Sir John Bourn, Comptroller and Auditor General of the United Kingdom, accompanied by his Ghanaian counterpart, Mr Edward Dua-Agyeman at the Castle, Osu. He said the recently passed Procurement Act and other laws were aimed at improving financial administration, which was crucial for good governance.

"We are committed to strengthening good governance at all levels of society and the financial sector is a very key area," he said.

The Vice President also thanked Britain for its assistance to the Audit Service, adding that Ghana would maintain its long-standing relations with the U.K.

The EU's capacity building programme for the Audit Service began in 2000, under which 5.6 million Euros was provided to train the staff in mainly performance audit and information technology skills.

Additionally, 460 computers have been installed for all the offices of the Service, under the first phase, which ends in June.

The National Auditing Office (NAO) of the UK would fund the programme until the second phase takes off in September.

Sir John, who leaves Accra tonight after a three-day visit, pledged continuing collaboration of the NAO with the Ghana Audit Service. He said technical support programme, complemented by an exchange programme had brought mutual benefits to both sides, particularly in the development of financial audit systems.

Dr Samuel Nii Ashong, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, said the Financial Administration Act had been recently passed to overhaul the manner in which business was conducted in terms of financial management.

"The Internal Audit Agency Act has also been passed to put the house of Audit Agency in order," he said. "We are harmonising the necessary structures and preparing the adequate logistics for the implementation of the laws."

Mr Dua Agyeman, in an interview, said the performance audit training was very crucial because it was assisting to assess whether the Government was getting value for money in its funding of programmes or not.

"For instance, we are now able to determine the performance of organisations, whether or not the provision of scholarships are proceeding as required and their impact and how the distribution of textbooks are being done," he explained.

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