Stakeholders have called on the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to release at least 80 percent of allocations from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to enable them to execute their duties effectively for national development.
The call follows research conducted in beneficiary Ministries- Food and Agriculture, Health, Education, Finance and Special Development Initiatives, which revealed that many of the Ministries obtained either half or a little over half of what was allocated to them in the ABFA.
As a result, it rendered them unable to effectively execute their mandate to promote sectoral development.
The stakeholders, including the Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth and Send Ghana, a non-governmental organisation that promotes good governance, also called on MDAs to undertake all preparatory activities for acquisition of land and documentation before commencing project tendering processes.
Mrs. Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, the Senior Programme Officer, SEND Ghana, presenting the report, said the study used both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection, sought to monitor real-time disbursements and utilisation of the ABFA in 2018 and the first six months of 2019.
The study also aimed at using the findings to support actions to strengthen the existing budget monitoring and evaluation system and information dissemination to promote transparency and accountability in the use of Ghana’s petroleum proceeds.
Mrs. Agyeman said the research revealed that adherence to work plan submission was weak due to the inability of the Ministry of Finance to follow plans submitted.
The research also identified a common constraint in accessing funds in all MDAs such as approval of commencement warrant, processing request due to rigorous process and delay in the release of funds, all due to the absence of approving officers from MoF and requesting MDAs.
Mrs. Agyeman called for an authority to be given to other officials within the MoF and requesting MDAs to act on behalf of those absent to proceed with the operations when necessary.
According to the research, an amount of GH¢ 1,055 million was allocated to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture from 2012 to 2019, however, the Ministry only received GH¢ 407 million.
The Ministry of Health, on the other hand, received GH¢ 113 million out of an allotted amount of GH¢ 229 million in 2013, and 2015 to 2019.
The Ministry of Special Development Initiatives also received GH¢ 275 million out of GH¢ 1,078 allotted. Overall, GH¢ 796 million was received by the MDAs out of the GH¢ 2,364 million allotted, representing 33.7 percent.
Mrs Agyemang said the concern of the stakeholders was to identify what the rest of the funding was used for and in which areas.
Mr Sulemana Benign, the Deputy Chief Planning Officer of the Ministry of Health, urged the MoF to give the MDAs the total amount allotted to them so they could work effectively.
He said lack of adequate funding often made it impossible for MDAs to complete projects or settle all of their debts.