The World Bank’s recent rejection of an audit report sent it by the Akufo-Addo administration has exposed the inefficiency and waste of public funds in government harbouring a slew of foreign consultants and auditing firms to track its revenues.
Last week, the World Bank threw out an audit report sent from the Akufo-Addo-led government and ordered the government that instead of the private audit firm it used, it should revert to the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) to conduct “an in-depth Review” of all procurement related expenditures from the period spanning the life of the administration from January 2017 to June 30, 2019.
The rejected report
had come from a private audit firm and the Bank in throwing it out explained
that “it is obvious that there are still systemic challenges with procurement
and contracts” which needs to be cured to correct various “lapses and control
The government has a December 2019 deadline to conduct an in-depth review assignment and submit its finding to the Bank.
“In line with the use of country systems, the Bank further recommends that that assignment be undertaking by the Ghana Audit Service and the finding shared with the Bank before December 15th 2019”.
The World Bank’s rejection was communicated by the bank’sTask Team Leader, Donald Mphande and copied to Patrick Nomo; Chief Director Ministry of Finance, George Swanzy Winful; Deputy Auditor General, Ghana Audit Service; Kwasi Kwaning-Bosompem Ag. Controller and Accountant General.
By this rejections, the Akufo Addo government would have wasted the huge sums paid to the auditing firm. The name of the auditing firm is not readily available.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time, foreign consultants contracted by the government have failed their mandate. For instance, early in the administration of the Akufo Addo government, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta contracted international auditing firm, McKinsey & Co to help the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) boost revenue collections after missing the revenue target for 2017.
However, since McKinsey & Co was hired, the GRA has consistently failed to meet its revenue targets through 2018 and the most part of 2019.
The GRA posted a whopping GHC 13 billion revenue shortfall by the close of the third quarter of 2019, receive an amount of GH¢ 32 billion, instead of its target of GH¢ 45 billion for the period.
This follows a string of similar failures in the past months. For instance, the Government ended the first quarter of this year with about GHC 10 billion instead of the GHC 12 billion it targeted for the period.
Last year, the projected to collect about GHC40 billion cedis but missed out on this target by more than 5% of the target.
In an interview granted Accra-based JoyBusiness in Malabo in Equatorial Guinea on the sidelines of the Annual African Development Bank meetings in June 2019, Mr Ofori-Atta insisted that some measures the government was implementing around the time and the on-going reforms at the GRA would help improve the numbers in the coming months.
However, the latest figure shows that these touted strategies and reforms have had little impact on the ability of the government to mobilise revenues.