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01.04.2006 General News

Decentralisation of public spending meeting in Wa

By GNA

Wa, April 1, GNA - Professor Gyan Baffuor, a Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning on Saturday urged public officers to see the effective implementation and utilisation of government's programmes and state resources as key ingredients in poverty reduction in the country.

As part of efforts to reduce poverty, he said his Ministry was decentralising fiscal management to ensure that all decentralised departments and agencies obtained their resources in time to undertake their programmes.

Professor Baffuor said this at a meeting on "Fiscal Decentralization" organised in Wa for Coordinating Directors, Budget, Finance and Planning officers in the Upper West Region. The participants discussed, District Level Allocation of Funds, Linkages of Local Budgets to the National Budget, Composite Budget Process and Treasury Payment System.

Professor Baffuor called for a smooth interface between the local budget and the national one and coordination between the various MDAs at the local level to avoid duplication and wastage of resources. On the economy, he said all the indicators were moving in positive direction with the country experiencing a relatively stable exchange rate regime, low inflation, a continuous reduction in bank rate, thereby making investments in treasury bills unrewarding.

The government has projected a growth rate of six per cent for this year, being an increase of 0.2 per cent of that of last year, but he noted that for poverty to see drastic reduction, the economy needed to grow over seven per cent annually.

According to him, the country's revenue increased from 18 per cent in 2001 to 24.6 in 2005 and there were signs that there would be a further increase by the end of this year.

Professor Baffuor announced that next year's budget statement would be presented to Parliament on December 9 this year. Henceforth, any government organisation that needed to replace a staff could do so without seeking authorisation from Central Government, except recruitment of new staff, where approval had to be sought through the Head of Civil Service.

Mr George Hikah Benson, Upper West Regional Deputy Minister called on the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to minimise the bottlenecks that made it difficult for distant regions to access funds in time for the implementation of their programmes.

Administrative mechanisms should also be put in place to cut down on the cost of travelling to Accra by officials to enable them meet the requirements set by the ministry.

Mr Daniel Dormelevo, a director of the Controller and Accountant Generals Department explained that under the decentralised fiscal management process, approval and payment of funds would all be met at the regional level.

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