Business News of Monday, 16 March 2015
Social Enterprise Development Foundation (SEND Ghana) has called attention to the capacity of civil society organizations to enhance good governance, transparency and fiscal responsibility in the management of public revenue.
SEND noted that though civil society organizations can contribute to increasing public discourse on government budgets and transparency, they would require capacity building to initiate and participate in such debates.
This observation was made during a workshop organized by SEND Ghana to highlight the role of civil society by convening key actors and to identify strategies for them to promote constructive public discourse on transparency and good governance.
According to Daniel Adotey, a Programme Officer of SEND–GHANA, Citizens’ Budgets tend to present an accessible version of either the Budget Proposal or the Enacted Budget.
He said the production of a Citizens’ Budget can help a government to develop its capacity to make technical information more accessible and more broadly.
He said the 2015 Citizens Budget is an improvement on the previous ones as the Ministry has made provision for more local languages so that many more Ghanaians would have the opportunity to read and understand government’s expenditure plan.
Participants at the workshop were taken through the various stages of the budget preparation cycle by representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the possibilities for inclusion of inputs from civil society.
Representatives of the Audit Service and the Ministry of Finance also briefed the participants on their role in ensuring transparency and accountability.
SEND Ghana also made the observation that budget transparency and accountability would require strong access to information and the ability of civil society to gather and utilize data in formulating policy proposals.
The participants were introduced to the Open Budget Survey Tracker, a tool used for measuring the timely release and public availability of key budget documents, and were educated on Ghana’s performance in it.
SEND also called on senior government officials to embrace the growing involvement of civil society in seeking transparency in the management of public finances.
Mr George Osei Obimpeh, Country Director of Send-Ghana said a better understanding of the budget process was key to holding duty bearers accountable.