A Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. John Kumah, has cautioned against how the Auditor-General’s report is interpreted by the general public.
While commending the Audit Service for the yeoman’s job they do with the report, he stated that the reports are not being well managed and are thus significantly contributing to the erosion of public confidence in public finance administration in the country.
According to him, the classification of all audit irregularities cited in the audit report as stealing or corruption is injurious to the public’s confidence in the country’s public finance administration, and thus could endanger the country’s democracy.
He explained on JoyNews’ PM Express Business Edition, that oftentimes, some of these audit irregularities are merely issues of delayed payments, non-recovery of loans, non-payment of taxes etc.
“Unfortunately, the reports of the Auditor-General consistently are not being well managed, and for me if we don’t work on the eroding public confidence in public finance administration in our country, we will be endangering our democracy.
“And I am a worried person when it comes to Auditor-General’s report because the interpretation of it in this country is not necessarily the situation in most cases. I mean, people are quick to lump it all up as a corruption and stealing syndicate or situation which sometimes is not the case because it could just be as a result of some delays payment, non-recovery of loans – loans that are backed by people’s salaries, you can’t run away with it – and all kinds of things.
“So when you delve deep into the Auditor-General’s report, you realize that even though there are some situations of concern, it is not as dangerous as we put it out there,” he said.
He has thus called for more public education and engagement on the work of the Audit Service especially in regards with the Auditor-General’s report.
“My concern is just the public education that this is not ‘chopping’ of money but sometimes even going ahead to spend before approval comes and the handling of the resolution when finally it is resolved, we don’t come back to the public,” he said.