One of the major challenges facing public financial management in Ghana is unreliable, irregular and insufficient flow of funds from finance ministry to other ministries and their agencies and departments.
The other challenge is expenditure on irrelevant and non-prioritized items induced either by the public management system or by indiscretion or indeed incompetence and rent-seeking.
In the case of Hon. Haruna Iddrisu (MP for Tamale South and Employment & Labour Relations’ Minister), the nature of the public financial management system of Ghana may have bogged him down in respect of the over a million Ghana cedis paid for membership dues and trip of 16 people or so to ILO Conference out of the coffers of Youth and Employment Agency (YEA) of Ghana.
Apparently, the ministry of employment and labour relations was starved of cash and, so as a solace, Haruna Iddrisu succeeded to use the ‘law’ and ‘inappropriate best practice in the public sector’ to, at all cost, find funds in order to meet Ghana’s international legal obligations – the result of which was to unfortunately take funds from an agency not only in its formative stages and targeting the despondent and frustrated youth but also that which had been tainted with corruption scandals. Hon Haruna Iddrisu should have known better and acted differently even under desperation.
But then, where was he to get the money to meet Ghana’s obligations? Could he have denied Ghana’s participation in ILO conference and also deferred payment of dues? Yes, he could have done that but what would have been the ramifications, especially so when President Mahama was scheduled to be a guest speaker or so of the conference?
But was it a must for President John Mahama to agree to be a guest speaker in the conference if he was told that the ministry of labour had no funds to sponsor the trip except to borrow from the YEA which was struggling to survive? In the past, how many people used to attend such a conference for Ghana?
All of these bring us back to a self-inflicted constrained finance ministry that appears to be out of touch with best practices of at least getting funds released on time to meet budgetary expectations of ministries, departments and agencies.
It also tells us a weird spectacle of poor public financial management architecture in the country. It also reminds us of the huge amount of monies developing countries including Ghana pay as membership dues to international organizations such as ILO, the overall comparative benefits thereof can generally be said to be questionable.
What Haruna did may have been lawful and authorized but it could not have been a prudent decision to take any pesewa from YEA to attend a conference, under normal circumstances and in the dire situation of YEA.
Honestly, I don’t think a whole government ministry (all other ministries included) should use funds of an agency to buy vehicles for supervisory purposes.
The ministry itself should budget for such vehicles and allow the agency to budget for its own vehicles. They each should use their released allocations to purchase what they budgeted for.
Is this too much to ask for? Or is supervision of the agency not part of the mandate of the ministry? What is the basis for the law allowing funds to be taken from the agency by its ministry in discharge of the ministry’s
mandate? I simply don’t seem to get it!
Source- Adam Abukari