Mrs Cecilia Dapaah, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, has cautioned potential investors to seek expert advice before investing in the financial space to avert unforeseen challenges.
The Minister said the country was experiencing the collapse of many financial institutions, leading to the potential loss of personal savings and institutional capital, due to poor governance practices, ineffective risk management and compliance issues.
Mrs Dapaah gave the advice on Wednesday in Accra at the annual National Internal Audit and Governance Conference on the theme: “Aligning Governance, Risk Management and Compliance for Institutional Impact”.
The two-day conference is aimed at equipping participants with the right knowledge, attitude and skills to excel in their institutions and assist their organisations to attain success.
She stated that as a result of the country’s financial challenges, government had invested over 12 billion Cedis to shore up the distressed banks, protect the depositors’ monies and avert the imminent collapse of the national economy.
The theme, according to Mrs Dapaah was timely because government was rolling out many socio-economic programmes and interventions like One District one factory and Planting for Food and Jobs, geared towards keeping the economy on the path of sustainable growth.
She said government had worked assiduously with stakeholders to promote the concept of local content and local participation in the key sectors of the economy to spur productive growth.
“Government’s initiatives can only succeed in an environment of good governance, where managers in charge of institutions, both public and private adopt an attitude of sound risk managements and compliance processes in their management practices”, she added.
She advised management of Internal Audit Service to put in place effective corporate governing boards to direct affairs of the institution in an efficient and effective manner devoid of financial malfeasance.
She said it behoves on boards of institutions to develop corporate objectives, policies and plans, monitoring and measuring organizational performance and providing strategic direction for the organization.
Mrs Dapaah admonished organizations to put in place risk management systems to mitigate negative factors, which were likely to impact on the smooth operations of an institution.
Madam Juliet Aboagye-Wiafe, the President of Institute of Internal Auditors Ghana(IIAG) said the role of the Internal Auditor in enhancing the success of their organizations reflected in the authority and power vested in the profession by the Public Financial Management Act.
The Act mandates Internal Auditors to appraise and report on the soundness and application of the system of controls operating in the covered entity and evaluate the effectiveness of the risk management and governance process of an organization.
She urged government and management of organizations to adequately resource and support Internal Auditors in both public and private sectors to perform their mandate of protecting the public purse.
She advised Internal Auditors to uphold the tenets of the Institute’s code and cautioned practitioners who connived with contractors to dupe the state to be ready to face the full rigors of the law.
Professor Edward Dua Agyemang, Board Chair, Ghana Audit Service had called for a legal backing of the Institute of Internal Auditors Ghana (IIAG) to function effectively and address some of the pitfalls associated with the institution.
He said the Service performance had been disappointing, calling for the need to restructure the country’s Internal Audit system to play its effective role of protecting public purse.
Dr James Klutse Avedzie, Chair, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, said the Auditor General Report cited infractions of breach of procurement and unearned salaries in public institutions, which were ignored by Internal Auditors.
He advised Internal Auditors to check the payroll of organizations to ensure that people who were paid were actually working to avoid any financial challenges.