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Bill to check excessive gov’t spending tabled

The chairman of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has disclosed that a bill aimed at stopping ministries department and agencies (MDAs) from overspending their budgets, and sanctioning them, is being developed by the Finance Minister.

The ‘Fiscal Responsibility Bill’ is geared towards sanctioning MDAs who expend beyond their budgetary ceiling.

His comments follow a query captured in the Auditor General’s report in 2012, with the Ministry of Health having overspent their budget.

He said “the Finance Minister is in the process of preparing what we call the Fiscal Responsibility bill and is looking forward to stopping ministries, department and agencies from will overspending their budgets”.

According to Mr. Agyemang-Manu, the bill is also expected to recommend stiffer sanctions against officials or government agencies that may fall foul of it.

“The sanctions in the Act may be more severe, so I would urge MDAs to learn how to avoid such areas in order not to be overtaken by any eventuality,” he cautioned.

Parliament is expected to resume sitting sometime next week, and already the Finance Minister is readying the Public Financial Management bill – which will enhance the efficiency, transparency and accountability of Public Financial Management Systems.

With the Fiscal Responsibility bill also set to appear before Parliament when it resumes sitting, Agyemang-Manu reckons it is a step in the right direction.

He says all these laws will help minimise malfeasance “it destabilises the macro­environment. If you have not planned to spend, don’t spend; that is budgetary discipline, and I think we all need it for ourselves”.

The MP for Dormaa Central also explained that in the past Finance Ministers had to struggle finding money to pay outstanding debts following financial infractions by MDAs, but he believes when the upcoming bill is passed into law it will help forestall this and maintain a healthy macro – environment to help the economy grow.

Government has grappled with employee’s salaries and financial irregularities within the civil service in the past, and Terkper stated that some of the actions his ministry is taking to improve payroll management and also manage impacts from the compensation bill in 2016 include: Electronic Payroll Input Forms (e-Forms); Interfacing Payroll Database with SSNIT Biometric data; Nationwide Pension Payroll Head Count; and Enhancing control and oversight.

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