Audit Service must be funded adequately –PC Ofori

By Stephen Odoi-Larbi

MP for Assikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, Hon. Paul Collins Appiah-Ofori

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Assikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, Paul Collins Appiah-Ofori, has called for logistical support for the Audit Service, to help fight and eliminate corruption from the various public institutions in the country. “If we want to fight corruption, the Audit Service must be funded adequately,” he said.

According to him, budgetary allocation for the Audit Service has for sometime now, not been enough, a situation, he said, has continued to impede the effective running of the Service for desired results.

Appiah-Ofori was contributing to a motion in Parliament yesterday, for the adoption of the report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the Government of Ghana and Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KFW), for an amount 55 million Euros for Multi Donor Budget Support (MDBS) 2011-2012, and an accompanying measure of 500,000 Euros to strengthen the Ghana Audit Service.

He believes that the aforementioned amount, when adopted and released to the Audit Service, would go a long way to improve public financial management system in the country.
Appiah-Ofori, however, expressed worry about the 10-year grace period of the loan facility, describing it as “dangerous’.

The purpose of the loan is to obtain funds to support the implementation of the national budget, and has an interest rate of 0.75% per annum on the amounts disbursed and outstanding, from time to time.

Aside the 10-year grace period, the loan facility has a repayment period of 30 years, with 40 years as maturity period, and a commitment charge of 0.25% per annum on the undisbursed loan amount.

However, in moving the motion for its adoption, the Chairman of the Finance Committee and MP for Ketu North, James Klutse Avedzi, said the loan facility would provide the government with resources not tied to any project, to support it achieve its core poverty reduction objectives.

“The provision of budget support, through the MDBS mechanism, is to increase predictability of donor support to government, help improve public financial management system, and facilitate policy dialogue between government and development partners,” he noted.

The Finance Committee, according to the Chairman, observed that the MDBS mechanism contributes to donor harmonisation, which helps to reduce transaction costs associated with the management of development aid to the government.

The loan facility, Avedzi said, would be disbursed in three tranches over three years; tranche I (2010) – 27.71 million Euros, tranche II (2011) – 18 million Euros and tranche III (2012) – 10 million Euros.
Mr. Avedzi further explained that the 2010 tranche includes an undisbursed amount of 0.71 million Euros from 2009.

That notwithstanding, Mr. Avedzi said, the Government of Ghana (borrower) had been given the right under the Agreement to cancel any loan amounts not yet disbursed, subject to the fulfillment of its obligations.

“Government also has the right, at any time, to repay the loan in whole, or in part, in advance of maturity,” he added.

The loan report was conversely, unanimously adopted by the House.

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