11.08.2005 General News

VEEP opens ECOWAS Conference of Auditor -Generals

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Accra, Aug. 11, GNA - Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Thursday observed that the rapid rate of social change, the development of new information technologies and other international dynamics required the modernisation of public administration and the consolidation of good governance.

"Some consolidation strategies focus on sustainable development, decentralisation of the decision-making process, the quality of service delivery to the citizenry, value for money, the assessment of performance and the optimum exploitation of the new communication technologies", he said.

Alhaji Mahama made the observation, when he officially opened the second session of the forum of the Accountant-Generals and Auditor-Generals in West Africa (FAAGWA) in Accra, on the theme: " Poverty Reduction Strategies In West Africa, The Role Of the Accountant-Generals and Auditor-Generals".

He said Government could not adequately address the new management and environmental issues without proper systems of accounting for the use of scarce public funds.

"Investors, governments, bilateral and multi-lateral financial institutions ... need to base investment and development aid decisions on reliable public accountability and financial management systems" he said.

Alhaji Mahama said since foreign aid was a significant feature in the budgets of many developing countries, effective aid management as well as funds accountability had become of crucial concern. He suggested the need for ECOWAS to examine existing practices and regulatory framework governing the sub-regional body in order to address inherent weaknesses.

The Vice President said Ghana had made considerable progress in restructuring and reforming the public sector financial management framework through the Financial Management Programme and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.

" I am happy to state that Ghana's application for assistance under the Millennium Challenge Account has been approved for a programme focussed on promoting growth through private sector led agri-business development.

" Moreover the HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) initiative and the recent decision on debt write-offs in particular poses financial reporting challenge on what will constitute the best treatment of government accounts."

Alhaji Mahama noted that effective solutions to the problems of poverty in Africa, was imperative to make the Continent an active player in the globalisation process.

"The problem requires a great deal of imagination on the part of us all to reverse the negative picture of our Continent as being synonymous with backwardness, disease and hunger," he said.

He stressed: " To this end, it is necessary that we adopt practical measures to put in place coordinating institutions that transcend national borders and which are capable of effectively producing the desired results."

FAAGWA will deliberate on the challenges the Sub-Region is encountering in the implementation of poverty reduction strategies, which have linkages with the Millennium Development Goals and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) initiative.

The delegates would also examine ways of harmonising accounting and auditing standards in West Africa to improve financial accountability in the public sector, adopt a constitution, code of conduct and action plan and programme of activities.

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