The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has inaugurated and sworn into office a five- member audit committee each for the 11 municipal and district assemblies in the Upper West Region.
The committees which were made up of three persons from GHS and two from the Ghana Audit Service, were sworn into office by the Wa Circuit Court Judge, Mr Baah Forson Agyepong.
The committees whose establishment was backed by the Public Financial Management, Act, 921 of 2016, would be responsible for monitoring the timely implementation of recommendations from the Auditor General’s Department.
According to the Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Osei Kuffour Afreh, the Act sought to regulate financial management of public sector within the micro-economic and fiscal framework, whilst defining the responsibilities of persons entrusted with the management and control of public funds, assets, liabilities and resources.
He noted that “auditing acts as a catalyst for enhancing and protecting organisational values: Governing bodies and senior management rely on auditors for objective assurance and insight into the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, compliance with relevant laws and the safeguard of assets of the business”.
Dr Afreh urged members of the audit committee to live above reproach, discharge their duties professionally by providing advice, promoting business ethics, monitoring compliance with relevant laws and evaluating policies to improve the governance practice in all institutions.
The Acting Director General of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Mr Nathan Yankey, stated that the committees were inaugurated to allow health institutions to fulfill their responsibilities and ensure that they complied with the Public Financial Management Regulations
“The responsibilities of the audit committees add to the effectiveness of public accountability, transparent, operational and financial performance, safeguarding and efficient use of public assets and purse”, he said.
Mr Yankey reminded the audit committee members that they would be responsible for advising health institutions to ensure that potential risks were identified, assessed and managed.
“The Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG) and IAA have endeavoured to bring people who are professionals and understand the audit committees’ work, but they may fall short of understanding the public sector, the processes and operations of the health facilities. It is, therefore, needful to provide them with copies of all documents, information, and assistance that they may require to facilitate their oversight over the health institutions’ principled performance”, Mr Yankey said.
He said that the audit committees were important in the governance of the health institutions and required the support of boards or councils as well as management and all key stakeholders in order to execute its statutory mandate.
FROM LYDIA FORDJOUR AND RAFIA ABDUL-RAZAK, WA
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