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21.01.2005 General News

Shrinking Audit Service budget killing efficiency and morale - AG

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Accra, Jan. 21, GNA - The continuous dwindling of the Audit Service budgetary allocation and low level of remuneration are having a negative impact on productivity, Mr Edward Dua Agyeman, the Auditor-General, said on Friday.

"Anytime HIPC funds are released and new districts or institutions are created ... they affect the Audit Service dramatically," he said. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Mr Agyeman said the Service required about 6.8 billion cedis to complete the audit of the 130 districts before new district chief executives are appointed. He said personnel of the Service had to study the Public Procurement and the Financial Administration Acts to facilitate their work.

He said within the next four years, over 25 per cent of the members of staff would be due for retirement, while the low remuneration is turning away prospective employees.

"Some professionals we employed in the past years had to leave because they got better opportunities than the Service could offer." Mr Agyeman, however, said negotiations were ongoing to bring the Service's salary to at least the public sector level.

He lauded government's effort to rectify the situation, saying:" for the first time in many years our budgetary allocation was met in full in 2003".

Ms Aurore Lokko, Chairperson of the Audit Service Board, noted that there have been a lot of efforts to promote personnel who are due for consideration.

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