pulic accountability

Essay by mariodebliss April 2014

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Public sector is administration related to the operation of government whether central or local. The public sector constitutes a significant part of Ghanaian economy and a major employer oflabour. In the past, the public sector governance structure presented less incentive to developcomplex and efficient system of service delivery and accountability, and as such, highly skilledprofessionals and other personnel were not required to run the existing systems. Government of Ghana is under pressure to improve public sector performance and at the same time contain expenditure growth. While factors such as ageing populations and increasing health care and pension costs add to budgetary pressures, citizens are demanding that governments be made more accountable for what they achieve with taxpayers' money. However, aconstant stream of public sector reforms has occurred over the last two decades in response toimproved governance and accountability system. The sector has no other option than to reachout for the proven practices of the business sector to ensure economy, efficiency andeffectiveness in its services delivery, and to demonstrate accountability and stewardship for theuse of public resources (Hood, 1995).

Undoubtedly, these reforms have implications for public sector accounting (PSA). The reformshave changed the traditional role of accounting to one that is more focused on accountability,output, performance measurement, efficiency, cost savings and productivity (Guthrie, 1995).

Across and beyond Commonwealth countries, Parliamentary Public Accounts Committees

(PACs) occupy a key position at the apex of legislatures' scrutiny and oversight processes over the use by governments of public sector resources. This role draws upon the traditions of the British "Westminster" system of public financial accountability dating back to 1857 and to the establishment of the UK PAC in 1861 (House of Commons, 1857: 7). But in many countries the current practices depart markedly from this original model. It has been complicated and adapted because...