Internal auditors are key stakeholders in the quest for fiscal discipline, says Bawumia

The vice president Dr has called for the restructuring of the internal audit service and reiterated the government's commitment to that

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said internal auditors in the public sector have crucial roles to play in the fight against and the quest to achieve fiscal discipline.

Addressing the 2022 Internal Auditors Conference in on Tuesday (16 August), Bawumua underscored the significance of internal auditors in the quest to improve financial mobilisation and ensure fiscal discipline, adding that they should be seen as major stakeholders in the process.

“The theme of “injecting fiscal discipline in resource mobilisation and utilisation for sustainable development” needs to be complete with internal auditors across the board who should be seen as stakeholders in ensuring that fiscal discipline measures are practically implemented across the public sector,” Bawumia said.

“The role of internal auditors as gatekeepers of financial discipline with covered entities cannot be over-emphasised. Internal auditors ensure that the processes of public financial management are complete by ensuring that the required controls are working whilst drawing management attention to avoid pitfalls in public spending.”

As the government pursues fiscal discipline to achieve fiscal consolidation, Bawumia said that the preventive role of internal auditors across the public sector enhances fiscal discipline and has saved the nation millions of cedis.

“By their advice and vigilance public sector waste and abuses have been minimized and annual infractions reported by the Auditor-General have seen some level of decline between 2019 and 2020.”

Restructuring the sector

He, therefore, called for the restructuring of the internal audit service and reiterated the government's commitment to that.

“To this end, Government will continue to restructure and reposition public sector Internal Audit in Ghana as an important public financial management institution to put public officers on their toes towards observing fiscal discipline in spending public funds.

“Going forward, ladies and gentlemen, to effectively utilize internal audit resources in the country, all Internal Auditors will be brought under the management, administrative, technical control, and supervision of the new Internal Audit Service (IAS).”

On the quest to revitalise the economy following the recent downturn as a result of global factors, Dr Bawumia called for the need for increased revenue mobilization and prudent expenditure and highlighted steps the government has taken to achieve that.

“A key focus of the 2022 budget is fiscal consolidation to enhance debt and fiscal sustainability as we implement our economic revitalization and transformation programme to better the lives of Ghanaians.”

“These measures, which include expenditure validation and revenue enhanced measures are to reposition the Ghana economy for accelerated growth.

Indeed, implementation of the measures highlighted in the 2022 budget will lead to significant fiscal adjustment from a projected fiscal deficit including Energy IPP Payments and Financial sector Clean-up cost of 12.1% of GDP in 2021 to 7.4% in 2022, representing an adjustment of 4.7 percentage points in just one year.”

“In January 2022, Government announced and, immediately, began implementing a 20% expenditure cut as part of fiscal stabilization and debt sustainability measures through the Minister for Finance.

This was followed by an additional 10% cut in discretionary expenditure all in an attempt to balance the fiscal position and restore Fiscal discipline following the banking crises, , the - war etc.”

The Vice President added that the has strengthened its expenditure monitoring systems and processes to ensure the effective implementation of these measures.

“For instance, Government called for efficient use of energy resources. In line with this, fuel coupon allocations to all political appointees and Heads of government institutions, including SoEs are to be cut by 50% effective 1st April this year,” he added.

Bawumia also revealed a significant cut in government expenditure through identity fraud, which is being curbed through digitisation and the strong identity system being built with the .

This, he noted, is saving the government millions of cedis after identity audits by agencies such as the Controller and Accountant General, National Service Scheme, and , among others.

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