The 2024-2027 Composite Budget Hearing was held in Damongo, at the conference hall of the Regional Coordinating Council on 10th October 2023 and 11th October 2023.
Bole District Assembly, North Gonja District Assembly, Central Gonja District Assembly and West Gonja Municipal Assembly presented their 2024-2027 Draft Composite Budget.
In a speech delivered by the Regional Coordinating Director of Savannah Regional coordinating council, Mr Yaw Adu Asamoah on behalf of the Hon. Minister For Finance; Mr Ken Ofori Atta, he stated;
“This occasion marks a crucial step in the fiscal planning and development of our region, and I am grateful for your presence here today as we embark on this collective journey.
This final stage of the budget preparation process is now underway simultaneously in all sixteen (16) Regions, covering all 261 Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) from 8th to 21st October, 2023. The Ministry deeply values your dedication and invaluable contributions to the budget process, and encourage you to maintain the same level of cooperation during the budget implementation phase. Your commitment is greatly appreciated.
Ladies and gentlemen, we can all attest to the recent economic challenges facing our country. To curb these challenges, Government has embarked on a journey that will fundamentally reposition our economy for economic transformation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) supported Post-COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG).
This is not to suggest that we have overcome all our challenges. The commitments made under the Fund necessitate widespread contributions and sacrifices, which will entail costs in terms of the fiscal adjustments we plan to implement this year and, in the years ahead. These measures are essential to maintain our stability, facilitate recovery, and ultimately drive our economic transformation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, everyone has a part to play as I firmly believe that your unwavering commitment to fiscal responsibility during these trying times will be instrumental in helping us navigate this situation and ultimately guide us back to a path of economic growth and fiscal consolidation.
In view of this, there is the need to work together and prioritise the following to improve revenue mobilisation and fiscal management:
Implementation of the Strategies/Activities in the Revenue
Improvement Action Plan (RIAP)
The Revenue Improvement Action Plan (RIAP) serves as a valuable tool, and its successful implementation holds the potential to significantly enhance revenue mobilization for our District Assemblies. Therefore, I strongly encourage the Budget Committees to explore innovative strategies and corresponding activities that will aid us in attaining our shared objective.
Furthermore, MMDCDs should take the lead in advancing the initiative for improved revenue mobilization. They must ensure that once the General Assembly approves the By-Laws and Rate Imposts, they are gazetted to provide the necessary legal foundation for enforcing compliance and pursuing legal action against defaulters.
Strengthen the Sub Structures for Revenue Mobilisation
The sub-structures (Sub-Metros, Urban/Town/Area, and Zonal
Councils) have been established by law to execute delegated functions
on behalf of the District Assembly. It is imperative to activate and reinforce these structures, ensuring they are fully operational to strengthen revenue mobilization efforts and effectively carry out their delegated responsibilities.
Follow Due Process to implement the approved Budget.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is crucial to emphasize that the use of GIFMIS Financials is not merely a suggestion, but a legal requirement as stipulated in Section 25 (6) of the Public Financial Management Act 2016, Act 921. Therefore, it is incumbent upon MMDCEs and MMDCDs to ensure that all budgetary and financial transactions are executed through this system to streamline reporting and enable prompt decision- making. Compliance with the use of GIFMIS Financials is instrumental in mitigating or even eliminating the audit irregularities.
Prioritization of on-going projects
To avoid expenditure commitments crystallising into judgement debt and huge expenditure arrears, Capital Expenditure budgeting for projects in 2024 should ensure arrears clearance, outstanding payments, non-accumulation of new arrears as well as speedy completion of such projects as contained in the Public Financial Management (Public Investment Management) Regulations, 2020, L.I. 2411.
To improve ownership and enhance transparency and accountability, the 2024 Composite Budget to be approved by the General Assembly should be signed off by the Presiding Member and the Coordinating Director prior to submission to the Regional Coordinating Councils for onward submission to the Ministry of Finance by 3rd November, 2023.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to strongly encourage MMDCEs, MMDCDs, and all members of the assembly staff to embrace and actively pursue cost-effective strategies to enhance efficiency in delivering the essential services required by our citizens.
Once again, I believe that you have taken cognisance of the provisions in the 2024-2027 Budget Preparation Guidelines and the presentation will follow the required format. You are all expected to provide us with:
• the status of implementation of your 2023 budget;
• highlights of your key achievements against the key output and performance indicators as well as challenges;
• your proposals for 2024 and the medium term; and
• any other relevant information with respect to your budget
I want to reiterate my gratitude for your presence and your commitment to our region’s well-being. Together, we can craft a budget that does not only addresses the immediate challenges but also paves way for a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable future.
May God bless us, and bless our homeland Ghana. “
The presentations were critically digested in an open forum through a question-answer and clarification session by stakeholders.