The Public Financial Management Reform Project (PFMRP) was part of a longer-term strategy aimed at improving budget management, financial control and reporting. The long-term strategy (PFMRS) serves as a National strategic document to guide the development of Ghana’s PFM programmes. The goal of the strategy is to establish efficient, transparent and accountable resource mobilization, allocation, management and use of fiscal resources to meet Ghana’s development priorities and commitments under the medium-term development policy framework and improve coordination of Donor Partners (DP) and Government of Ghana (GoG) support for PFM. The project was implemented through four components and related sub-components including one on “Reinforcing Financial Oversight and Accountability”. The objective of this component was to enhance external audit capacity as well as legislative oversight over budget management. It included two subcomponents i) External Audit Capacity Strengthening and ii) Legislative Oversight.
The project targeted the Finance and the Public Accounts Committees, respectively. The two committees working in conjunction with other committees lead on financial transparency and accountability issues and demand transparency and accountability from public institutions and the executive. There was also a focus on the Committees’ secretariats and the Research Department of Parliament. The project was implemented from 2016 to 2017.
Interventions were designed to strengthen the technical capacity of staff of parliament, particularly clerks of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee, to support Parliamentarians in performing budget analysis as well as analysis of audited public accounts and reporting on audit report reviews/hearings. The following specific activities were carried out:
- Guidance materials on analytical oversight report writing
- Training programme for Finance and PAC clerks on report writing
- Technical Assistance to staff of the Finance and Economic Unit of the Research Department through mentorship, training, and benchmarking
- Templates on how to Request Budget and Financial Information from government departments
- Guidelines on Reviewing audit reports
- Technical assistance for the production of three (3) Budget Briefs per year – during the Budget Session, Mid Year and End of Year
- Training and provision of technical support to research staff to be able to help MPs conduct Monitoring and Evaluation of Capital projects approved in the budget
- Handbook on Orientation for new Members of Finance Committee and the PAC
- Orientation and training for new Members of the Finance Committee and the Public Accounts Committee
The tools and mechanisms developed under the project continues to serve as a resource for the Finance and Public Accounts Committees of the Parliament of Ghana. It has also opened the Committees up to a number of sources for technical backstopping and available expertise.