Auditor General Daniel Domelevo has called for reforms in Ghana’s fiscal decentralisation; arguing that it is too centralised.
He said per the current structure, the lion share of the funds go to the ministries which he believes breeds corruption and inefficiency.
Speaking at the third Kwadwo Baah Wiredu lecture at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre in Accra on Thursday, Mr Domelevo said: “the fiscal decentralisation we have in Ghana is just about two-kilometre square”.
“When the money us shared according to the ministries, the ministry takes their lion share and gives the rest to the department and they also take theirs and gives the rest to the unit…and by the time the money gets to the ground, it is finished.
"If anyone gets newly employed in the public sector in some remote village Ghana, his or her details have to come all the way to Accra before that person can be captured on the payroll," a system Mr Domelevo finds worrying.
“No wonder we have so many ghosts are on our payroll, and now we are chasing the ghosts,” he lamented.
The Auditor General believes since the core ministries of government have no jurisdiction to man, their financial power should be ceded to the Regional Ministers.
He argued that the regions and districts should be the ones paying for work done at that level instead of the contractors coming to Accra for their money.
“We should decentralise our budgets to the regions and the districts and not the ministry. A contractor who has worked for the government should be paid in the district,” he said.
He called for a review of a constitutional provision, which doesn’t allocate enough money to the districts.
The District Assembly Common Fund is entitled to not less than 5% of the nation’s cash but questioning this, Mr Domelevo said the law should have given the larger share of the money to the districts.
“…they should have said not less than 5% should be kept in the centre, the rest should go,” he argued.
Putting budget together under Regional Minister and asking them to defend it in parliament is the effective way to go, Domelevo noted.
“Effective fiscal decentralisation can put a check on corruption,” he added.