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16.12.2005 Business & Finance

Govt works at implementing 2006 Budget

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Accra, Dec. 16, GNA - A budget implementation and monitoring briefing session under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning is underway in Accra to establish a timely road map for the implementation of the 2006 Budget.

The session, opened to Chief Directors of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA's), officials of the Head of Civil Service, as well as directors and State actors in the frontline of the implementation of the national budget, is intended to identify potent strategies to move the 2006 Budget from " a will do stage to the have done level". In an interview with the Ghana News Agency after the opening, Mr Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu said there was a need to go beyond the Budget and set a clear system of implementing it to the letter as presented. He said the sense of ownership had to be created and people on all sides made to feel a sense of responsibility in making the 2006 Budget to work.

Mr Baah-Wiredu explained that MDAs usually faced the challenge of implementation of Government programmes, either through lack of funding or the excess of it.

As in the 2006 Budget, the Minister of Finance said, "year in year out, the nation has been faced with the situation of substantial balances of the budgetary allocations, including donor funds, made available to MDAs, remaining unutilised at the end of the year. "In the worst cases, huge balances have to be cancelled at the close of programmes and projects when much of the work remains uncompleted." He said it was also sad that significant delays had occurred in implementation and had become the norm and accepted practice in almost everything that we did as a nation.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said the meeting would be repeated with District and Regional Directors to ensure that the sense of responsibility and ownership trickled down right down to the basic level, "so that at the end of 12 months we can say that we said this and we were able to do it".

Concerning the issue of delays in the payment of salaries for new staff, sometimes for about a year, Mr Baah-Wiredu said a clearing-house situation would be put in place so that a specific time was allotted to meet for action to be taken on those matters.

Dr Charles Wereko-Brobbey, speaking on: "From Will Do to Have Done", said two things stuck out in the 2006 Budget, which was the core of the ideas in it.

"The first is the absence of the word implementation in the list of challenges while the second was the admission that the buck for non-performance stops at the Government machinery, of which those gathered at the meeting have been charged with key responsibility for getting things done."

He indicated that once a good policy had been laid out, it must be turned into a plan, monitored and evaluated till the ultimate outcome. Dr Wereko-Brobbey noted that there should be a scope and format for the implementation of the 2006 Budget, saying that each MDA should turn each measure into a working programme.

He called for sector specific implementation programmes with a timely and targeted approach to implementation.

The Former Volta River Authority (VRA) Chief Executive said the call for investment in people and creation of jobs must be seriously addressed, noting that the Government must provide grants and tax credits for companies or firms that hired and trained young people to improve their access to the job market.

He called for the identification and cataloguing of all job creation initiatives within each sector that would enable convincing statistics to be built up of jobs that flowed from the implementation of the 2006 Budget.

Dr Wereko-Brobbey said the preparation of a timetable should be done by the executing agency or agencies under the supervision of the project managers.

"As far as possible, the scheduling should be tied to the time schedules of the principal persons, who actually carry out the main activities, so as to ensure that they do indeed have enough time available to them to meet the schedules set for the work programme", he said. 16 Dec. 05

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