In a significant move to enhance financial transparency and accountability within the public sector, the government of Ghana has initiated comprehensive processes aimed at restructuring the Internal Audit Agency. Dr. Eric Oduro Osae, the Director-General of the Internal Audit Agency, revealed this development, emphasizing the imperative of preventing financial irregularities in the public sector. The restructuring endeavor aligns with broader measures to ensure the judicious utilization of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) three-year, US$3 billion extended-credit facility for the country.
Speaking at the esteemed 9th African Federation of the Institutes of Internal Auditors (AFIIA) Governance Forum, Dr. Oduro Osae highlighted that as part of Ghana’s commitment under the IMF deal, the country has embarked on a series of post-pandemic programs aimed at building resilience and fostering stronger economic growth. This includes the implementation of an ambitious structural reform agenda that seeks to invigorate private sector-led growth by improving the business environment, governance, and productivity.
The IMF’s Executive Board approved a Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation of 2.242 billion (equivalent to US$3 billion) for Ghana on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. This decision facilitated an immediate disbursement of approximately US$600 million, with the remainder expected to be disbursed in tranches every six months, subject to IMF Executive Board reviews.
Dr. Oduro Osae emphasized the government’s commitment to enhance the Internal Audit Agency’s operations through the ongoing restructuring process. The objectives of this restructuring endeavor include enhancing independence, providing adequate resources, strengthening technical capacities, and placing a renewed focus on the internal audit function. These measures are intended to effectively prevent financial irregularities within public institutions.
Beyond the restructuring prompted by the IMF deal, Dr. Oduro Osae highlighted the agency’s collaboration with the Institute of Internal Auditors-Ghana and the State Interest Governance Authority (SIGA) in driving transformative change within the public sector. This collaborative effort has led to plans to develop a ‘Unified Corporate Governance Code,’ which will serve as a comprehensive guideline for boards and management of public sector institutions, fostering improved governance practices.
Dr. Oduro Osae further underscored Ghana’s commitment to repositioning and restructuring the internal audit function, ensuring its enhanced responsiveness to the needs of boards and management. The Internal Audit Agency is actively collaborating with the Institute of Internal Auditors-Ghana to facilitate this process and ensure its successful implementation.
The AFIIA Governance Forum, hosted by Ghana, provided a unique platform for sharing knowledge, insights, and best practices in organizational processes. The forum, themed ‘Innovate to sustain,’ presented an exceptional opportunity for internal auditors to challenge traditional boundaries, explore new perspectives, and foster innovative approaches to governance, risk management, and control processes.
Dr. Oduro Osae urged board members and management of organizations to actively involve their internal auditors and audit committees in managerial decision-making processes. By integrating these key stakeholders at all levels, organizations can leverage their expertise to offer valuable assurance and advisory services. Such collaboration holds the potential to create sustainable and competitive advantages that support business growth and development. Dr. Oduro Osae cautioned that weak institutional structures and systems have the potential to undermine the progress and achievements made through innovation, making robust governance practices even more critical.
Harriet Akua Karikari, the President of the Institute of Internal Auditors-Ghana, expressed her expectation that the AFIIA Governance Forum would challenge and transform corporate leaders, prompting them to rethink strategies and explore creative initiatives to enhance governance, risk management, and control processes. This proactive approach will enable organizations to proactively identify, prepare for, monitor, and mitigate strategic risks as they evolve.
The AFIIA Governance Forum, hosted by Ghana, delivered a forum that pushed internal auditors to think beyond conventional boundaries, encouraging them to embrace innovation and explore bold perspectives. Under the theme of ‘Innovate to sustain,’ this event served as an essential platform for dialogue, idea exchange, and collective efforts to drive positive change in governance practices.
Ghana’s government has taken proactive steps to restructure the Internal Audit Agency, bolstering financial integrity and accountability within the public sector. This strategic move aligns with Ghana’s commitment to effectively utilize the IMF’s extended-credit facility and implement post-pandemic programs to enhance resilience and foster economic growth. The ongoing restructuring endeavors seek to enhance independence, resource allocation, technical capabilities, and internal audit focus, aiming to prevent financial irregularities.
Furthermore, the collaborative efforts with the Institute of Internal Auditors-Ghana and SIGA are poised to establish a Unified Corporate Governance Code, elevating governance practices within public sector institutions. The AFIIA Governance Forum provided a valuable platform for knowledge sharing, inspiring innovative thinking, and transforming corporate leadership to improve governance, risk management, and control processes.