The Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) has sensitized Chief Directors of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), which, Ghana has set out to implement to improve its public accounts.
The adoption and implementation of IPSAS have been identified as one of the critical programmes in the Public Financial Management Reforms currently underway in Ghana, and it is expected to improve fiscal transparency and accountability.
The CAGD, therefore held the sensitization on Tuesday, as part of the implementation processes of the IPSAS- a comprehensive set of standards to regulate and guide the preparation, presentation and disclosure of the general purposes financial statements in the Public Sector.
The International Public Sector Accounting Standard Board (IPSASB), an organ of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) developed the IPSAS for all countries of the world.
Mr Kwasi Kwaning-Bosompem, Acting Controller and Accountant General, told the chief directors, that they were critical partners in the successful implementation of the IPSAS, which applied to all public sector entities excerpt government business enterprises set up for commercial purposes.
He said the implementation of the IPSAS would further strengthen the Public Financial Management Reforms Strategy and the effective use of the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System.
He said for a long time, prior to the adoption of the IPSAS in 2014, the public Accounts of Ghana had been prepared in compliance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in accordance with the financial laws such as FAD 1979, Financial Administrations Act 2003 on Cash Basis.
However, realizing the shortcomings of the cash base accounting, the CAGD had in recent years, moved to the use of the Modified Accrual Basis, which was not totally in line with international standards, and had invariably, affected Ghana’s Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability ratings.
“It is, therefore, a relief that the Ministry of Finance approved the adoption and implementation of the IPSAS, which ensures Public Accounts are prepared on Accrual Basis”, Mr Kwaning-Bosopem said, adding that, the IPSAS implementation was launched in November 2018 with an initial sensitisation programmes organized for Accounting officers from the MDAs in Accra early this year.
He said when the Accrual Basis IPSAS was implemented; it would lead to the matching of revenue with expenditure in the period it relates, to give an accurate assessment of the financial performance of the Government.
It would ensure that long term expenditure incurred for the acquisition of assets were spread over the useful life of the assets, while providing accurate and adequate data for effective management and safeguarding of government fixed assets as well as ensuring regular review of the state of such assets.
Nana Kwasi Agyekum Dwamena, Head of Civil Service, commended the CAGD for engaging the Chief Directors as technical and bureaucratic Heads of the MDAs, in the sensitisation of the IPSAS, saying that, as spending officers, it was in order for them to know about the system and the legal framework of their responsibilities towards the successful implementation of the IPSAS.
Dr Willams Abayaawien Atuilek, a member of the IPSAS Implementation Committee, in a presentation, said many countries had followed through and were currently implementing IPSAS to ensure they conformed to international standardisation.
He said IPSAS, would improve government financial reporting in terms of completeness, consistency and compliance as well as aiding financial information flow, adding that, the Accrual Basis that had been adopted by Ghana had 42 standards that were required to be implemented.
He said IPSAS would also ensure proper monitoring of all public financial accounts, thereby promoting transparency and quality service delivery in the public sector.
Dr Atuilek said Ghana expected to fully implement the IPSAS by 2022, adding that, the process also included consistent training of all financial and account officers of the MDAS and other stakeholders, as well as evaluation of all financial assets of the states.
The World Bank through the Swiss Government is supporting the implementation process of IPSAS, Dr Atuilek said.
Mr Samuel Aryee, Chairman of IPSAS Implementation Committee, and Deputy Controller and Accountant General in charge of ICT and Information Management Services, said the implementation was being done together with the Institute of Chartered Accountants.