Funding delays implementation of IPSAS

  • US$7m required for operationGhana’s quest to effectively rollout and implement the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) by 2023 risks being delayed due to lack of funds for the project.

    Just like the adoption and implementation of GIFMIS, government, with the aim of ensuring that the country’s resulting financial reports are in line with best practices, has adopted the IPSAS in order to improve budgeting, accounting and financial reporting on public funds.

    Though not much publicity has been made on the project, the Controller and Accountant General, Mr. Eugene Asante Ofosuhene told the Goldstreet Business at the 2018 Accountants Conference that a solid foundation has been laid for the project’s implementation but that funding has been a major challenge.

    “A committee has been set up with membership from the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD), the Ministry of Finance (MoF), Audit Service, and ICAG with an implementation budget of US$7 million required.

    “An earlier 5-year plan was suggested for a phased implementation from 2016-2020 but was not effective,” he explained

    However, the Swiss government in 2016, agreed to support IPSAS’s implementation process with US$3million, for a three year period commencing 2017, through the World Bank.

    Mr. Ofosuhene said the gesture offered some relief, as implementation guidelines have been rescheduled from 2018 to 2023.

    “Based on the work done so far by the IPSAS implementation committee and the CIPFA consultant, the project is broken down into five phases to be completed in 2023,” he revealed.

    A study tour of five officials to two countries that are implementing IPSAS is scheduled between June 11-16, 2018, as a concluding part of the committee and CAGD management’s capacity building.

    Government had previously committed to adopting accrual basis IPSAS by 2020, with the effort being led by the Finance Ministry and supported by ICAG. Since 2016, however, the implementation process has been very slow.

    The system has currently interfaced with procurement systems of the Public Procurement Authority, MoF’s National Contract Database and BoG’s macro-fiscal systems.

    In order to complete the transition to IPSAS, government must work to align its balance sheet in accordance with recognition and measurement principles of IPSAS, develop operational policies and training programmes to reskill operational staff.

    Rwanda, Botswana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, as well as regional bodies including ECOWAS, are at various stages of adopting and implementing IPSAS as an accounting framework.

  • Swiss gov’t agrees to support GoG with US$3m

By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe