Sanctions under new PFM law are too rigid – IFEJ President

by | Sep 30, 2016 | Business | 0 comments

Following the introduction of the new Public Finance Management Act, Act 921, which had received parliament approval and assented by the president, many financial observers including the president of the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) have expressed worry over the numerous sanctions and its severity captured in the section 96 of the PFM law. Although the new Public Finance Management (PFM) Act, Act 921 seeks to recommend punishment for public officials who misconducts themselves whiles holding public office and those who willfully misappropriate and over spend government funds, they are of the view that such harsh punitive measure will deter people in public service from taking initiative that will help transform government business. The President of the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ), Mr. Lloyd Evans believes that most public officials will now be extra careful in carrying out their official duties since they would not like to do anything that would amount to flouting the law. He said the law is too rigid and would prevent government officials from taking initiatives that would help improve government business. “The sanction there for me, I can’t see people using their discretion to do things, it’s too rigid and I think the ministry should take a second look at it again” he said. But the Legal Director at the Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Mangowa Ghanney says such worries are misplaced. According to her the sanctions stated in the Act are not rigid enough. “I personally don’t think the sanctions are rigid enough, because I think and it’s important for public officers to do their work and should be able to understand that there are responsibilities attached to the work that they do. And I think this is what the law is trying to do” she said. Mrs. Ghanney explained that what the new law seeks to do is to structure things in a way that little concern will be given to how public officials in the country use and manage public funds. She revealed that the new PFM law is not about sanctions but rather to regulate the way public funds are managed and cited some existing laws such as the Financial Administration Act and the Financial Administration Regulation that also provides for sanction against erring public officials. Emphasizing on the need to have such sanctions within the law, the Finance Minster, Seth Terkper stressed on the need to have proper systems in place to check abuses in any institution. “If you don’t have a system, if you don’t have a process, somebody will always abuse it. There will be abuses, but there should be systems in place to minimize such abuse” he said. By: Nana Appiah Acquaye  

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