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Ghana¶s PFM Stakeholder Dynamics: Parliament, Civil Society, the Media, and the Private Sector

Marilyn Aniwa

May, 2008

Parliamentary Centre Tel: 233 21 242 345 Fax: 233 21 223 815 www.parlcent.ca

Parliamentary Centre ± An Overview  

The Parliamentary Centre is an independent, Canadian based organization with offices abroad dedicated to strengthening parliaments as democratic institutions. It currently has programs in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Americas funded by CIDA and increasingly other donors such as DFID, the African Development Bank, Austrian Aid, and UNDP. The Centre works in close partnership with local and international organizations dedicated to democratic development.

Outline 
      

Parliamentary Centre ± An Overview The Ghana Program Assessment of Ghana¶s PFM The Role of Ghana¶s Parliament The Role of Civil Society The Role of the Media The Role of the Private Sector Conclusion

The Ghana Program  

The Ghana Parliamentary Committee Support Project Phase 2 (GPCSP II): - A four-year project funded by CIDA and implemented by the Canadian Parliamentary Centre (has engaged with the Parliament of Ghana since 1994) Partners include: - Parliament of Ghana - civil society organisations - the DFID, USAID, the World Bank Institute, - the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

The Ghana Program 

The purpose of the project is to strengthen six key committees related to poverty reduction efforts in Ghana, in ways that promote accountability, transparency and participation in the Poverty Reduction process and parliamentary governance of Ghana. The Committees are: - Public Accounts - Finance - Local Government - Gender and Children - Government Assurances - Special Committee on Poverty Reduction

Achievements of the Ghana Program 
    



Institutionalisation of annual budget reviews with parliament Sharing of best practices through study tours Improved parliamentary oversight and committee monitoring field visits Improved parliamentary engagement with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and communities Conducting policy studies on critical topics of relevance to parliament and parliamentary governance Greater articulation of gender and other equity issues in parliamentary business and lately The first Live Public Hearing Process

Assessment of Ghana¶s PFM  

Ghana is said to be making substantial efforts in recent years, to improve fiscal transparency, including introduction of new and more comprehensive public financial management legislation, a strengthened system for controlling expenditure commitments, improved annual budget statements and voluntary participation in revenue reporting. Though Ghana already meets the standards of the fiscal transparency code in several areas, it still falls short in several others. Weaknesses in external and internal auditing, oversight, incomplete fiscal reporting still exist (these will be confirmed by the Hon. MPs)

The Role of Ghana¶s Parliament in PFM  

The Parliament of Ghana through the budget process is involved in Public Financial Management by the review and analysis of the national budget implementation and spending Parliament has ongoing dialogue with Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other external institutions associated with formulation, implementation and audit stages of the budget.

The Role of Ghana¶s Parliament in PFM  

Though the Parliament of Ghana has been reviewing the Auditor Generals report from year to year (backlog of reports for several years), the first live public hearing process took place last year (October, 2007) The live hearing process resulted in a new perception of Parliament in the eyes of the general public. Parliament is now seen as having the power to call government and for that matter, civil servants to account for monies spent (the Hon. Members will explain further in their presentations)

The Role of Ghana¶s Parliament in PFM  

Efforts are also underway by the Parliament of Ghana to set up a budget and finance unit equipped to generate budget related information, expert analysis of the budget and the national economy, including analysis of government revenue and expenditure and economic forecasts These activities are all being supported by CIDA, DFID and USAID and managed by the Parliamentary Centre

The Role of Civil Society in PFM   

Civil society in Ghana is very dynamic and plays a critical watchdog role over government policies and actions There are several CSO groups monitoring Public Financial Management and Expenditure The Center for Budget Advocacy focuses on budget analysis and government spending and the SEND Foundation critically monitors government¶s utilisation and spending of HIPC funded projects

The Role of Civil Society   

The anti-corruption activities of Ghana's civil society are coordinated by the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC). The coalition, which also includes government counterparts, consisting of the: Ghana Integrity Initiative (TI Ghana) Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Ghana) Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF) The Ghana Integrity Initiative for example has been focusing on the implementation and adherence to the Public Procurement Act

The Role of the Media in PFM  

Before the liberalisation of the airwaves and media in 1996, only the state-owned radio and television stations were in operation - three main daily newspapers and a few independent dailies There are now more than 300 newspapers (including nine daily newspapers) and magazines registered with the National Media Commission (the independent constitutional body charged with protecting media freedoms and ensuring media act responsibly).

June 2007 records

The Role of the Media in PFM  

Since the airwaves were liberalized in 1996 the National Communications Authority (NCA) has granted authorization to about 24 television stations and 137 FM radio stations (NCA, June 2007) to operate in the country. An estimated 129 FM stations are currently on air in addition to four free-on air and four pay-per-view television stations. This has raised the level to which civil society and the media engage both government and the public particularly in matters related to corruption and financial management of public resources

The Role of the Media in PFM  

With regard to Public Financial Management, the Ghanaian media has been carrying out effective investigative reporting ± turning the spotlight on institutions and persons fallen foul of the law with regard to financial and impropriety Public officials and private persons are invited on the airwaves to make contributions or clarify issues of national interest

The Role of the Media  

The recent public hearing received a lot of media attention, with public reaction very swift. Discussions on various radio and TV stations revealed that whilst many perceive that corruption is prevalent among politicians, the public hearing added the dimension of pervasive corruption among civil and public servants Discussions also pointed to the fact that the issues raised in the Auditor General¶s Report are a symptom of systems failure as well as poor supervision by political authorities

The Role of the Media 

As a result, public comments suggest an overwhelming support with many proposing that resources must be made available from the national budget to support the PAC continue its reviews of the Auditor General¶s Report in public

The Private Sector in PFM   

The Private Sectors involvement in PFM is modest. The sector is still engaged in policy dialogue with government on issues of economic and business policy rather than on ensuring public financial management Private sector consultations with government centre around improvements in procedures for doing business in Ghana, provision of tax incentives and access to and cost of capital The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Federation of Association of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE) have in recent times lobbied for the inclusion in the annual budget process, and have participated in two rounds of budget debates to date

Conclusion - Why does Parliamentary Development matter in PFM?  

Parliaments ± representative institutions elected by the people ± are the central (though not the only) instruments for ensuring popular control. So, parliamentary development matters because democracy matters. Parliamentary development matters because many parliaments are comparatively weak in relation to the executive branch of government, and so are unable to adequately perform their primary role of holding government to account. A central aim of parliamentary development is to help level the playing field between parliament and the executive while strengthening relations between parliament, civil society, the media and the private sector