Mr Speaker, the point I was trying to make is that, we do have a very, very serious problem that we need to contend with and I am happy that there is a new effort, a new solution to address that. The problem that we have is that, under the Financial Administration Act, every MDA is supposed to prepare for audit of its financial statements at the end
of the year. To tell Ghanaians that monies from the taxes that we have paid, that was given to the various Ministries, they are able to account for it on paper. Today, no Ministry is able to do that.
The system that they put in place to do that, it did not work. So, I am happy we are going to have a new one. But I am saying that somebody should tell us why the BPEMS and the 4, 5, 6 previous ones -- why they did not work and why they think this will work.
Mr Speaker, there are a lot of technical issues and it would have been useful if this House had been given the opportunity to have a better understanding of it.
Mr Speaker, as I speak to you now, the Public Accounts Committee has just been invited to a weekend seminar at Sogakope so that they would explain to us what it is that they are trying to do for GIFMIS. And even before they have done that we are being asked to approve this loan. Mr Speaker, it is not good enough. We should have had much more information what it is that they are giving to us.
But I want to reiterate what I said at
first, that I believe it is important that we are not left out of the ICT revolution. It is so important. As a country, as a continent, we were left out of other economic revolutions; we were not able to catch up. If this one leaves us behind, we will not be able to catch up. So, it is good but in doing so, let us be careful and do the right things instead of embarking on fanciful projects just because it has become the practice to engage in ICT.
With these few remarks, Mr Speaker,
I want to urge you to ask the Minister to come and give us some more technical information beyond the information he has given for the financing aspect of it.
Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic planing (Mr Seth Terkpeh): Mr Speaker, I wish to clarify a couple of points that have been made in connection with this debate.
Mr Speaker, my senior Colleagues of the profession on the opposite side are right in pointing out that the GIFMIS system is replacing the BPEMS, system that was actually initiated around the period of 1997 and 1998. Mr Speaker, the intention was that, it would have a pilot phase which was initiated again around 2000.
For some reason however, Mr Speaker, the pilot BPEMS system stalled around 2003 and 2004 and that is why it was never deployed to the other Ministries.
Mr Speaker, I wish to also note that we
have actually, as I briefed the Committee on two points, taken the measures which the Hon (Dr) Akoto Osei mentioned, in ensuring that the Director of Budget and the Controller and Accountant- General would be in charge of the two elements of the system and we did inform the Committee, that they are members of the steering committee unlike the previous time, when they were not on the PUFMARP or BPEMS Steering Committees.
Finally, Mr Speaker, the reason we did
not hold the seminar until now is that we were holding consultations with MDAs and other stakeholders and we also wanted to be sure that we had negotiated funding for the projects. Otherwise, we would have been talking about only conceptual issues to members of the Finance Committee and the Public Accounts Committee.
So, as has been confirmed by my Hon Colleagues, indeed, we are going to be holding a detailed technical seminar for the two Committees on the GIFMIS