Tamale, Feb 09, GNA - With the introduction of the Public Procurement Act, the Ghana Audit Service is to establish a specialist unit to audit public sector procurement to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.
Mr Edward Agyemang-Duah, Auditor-General of the Ghana Audit Service, said this at an end-of-year get-together and awards night for personnel of the Northern Region in Tamale on Wednesday. The forum offered the personnel the opportunity to review their activities for the past year and to plan towards improving its operations for this year.
Mr Agyemang-Duah said the Audit Service personnel needed specialised training and resources to be able to carry out this function effectively.
He said a "special fund audit unit" would also be set up to conduct audit of all special funds within the Consolidated Fund to enable the Auditor-General to present a separate report on them to Parliament. The funds targeted for this exercise include: the Road Fund, HIPC Fund, GETFund, HIV/AIDS Fund, Poverty Alleviation Fund and the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL), as well as tied donor grants and other trust funds.
Mr Agyemang-Duah said the Payroll Audit Unit would be resourced to cope with the ever-increasing demand on the unit while effort would be made to strengthen the Legal Services Unit to enable it to manage the review of public contracts, monitoring of new legislation and follow-up on legal issues affecting the Audit Service.
He said to increase public awareness of the accountability role and win stakeholders confidence and support, the Audit Service would hold a stakeholders education forum this year.
Highlights of this campaign would be the institution of an "Audit Service Week" to interact with the public, the media and civil society organisations and government institutions and other development partners.
Mr Agyemang-Duah noted: "Our public image has not been very clear as a good governance and accountability institution.
"As a result, we continue to face resource constraints while several officials in high places have not regarded the Audit Service in its true light as constitutional institution established to render a specific duty to the citizenry".
He said the Service was undergoing restructuring and that the Assistant Auditor-General grade, which had been dormant since its creation in 1997, had now been activated.
The Regional Auditor position had also been upgraded from Director to Assistant Auditor-General and the District Auditor position had been raised from Assistant Director to the rank of Director.
Mr Agyemang-Duah said 350 personnel of the Service who had not had their promotion for the past 22 years had been interviewed and promoted accordingly, while the second batch of 450 personnel had also been interviewed for promotion before the end of last year.
He said staff of the Service had been granted opportunity to pursue professional courses and academic programmes at the country's universities through the granting of part-time or full-time study leave. "Currently, 112 personnel are in the universities and institution of higher learning, four are reading for the Masters of Business Administration, 30 for Chartered Accountants (Ghana) at various levels, 40 for ACCA, eight for CIPFA and 30 reading for their first degree, mostly in BSc Administration".
Mr Agyemang-Duah appealed to personnel of the Service to exhibit vigilance and high professional conduct in the performance of their duties to uphold and defend the good name of the organisation. "Let us assist the nation to spend wisely and for all taxpayers to obtain good value for their money", he emphasised.
Damongo District, which was adjudged the best district for assiduously working hard to clear the backlog of unaudited assignment, received a certificate.
The "Best Worker" award went to Madam Margaret Simpi, secretary at the Tamale Regional Office of the Audit Service. She received a sewing machine and 500,000 cedis as her prize.