Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has reiterated the need for the prudent management of public finances in order to ease hardships and enable investments in critical sectors for growth.
The Minister said this in her address at the opening of the Joint Sitting of the Sub-Committee on General Supervision and Coordination on Budgetary, Finance and Finance Administration Matters and the Fifteen Ministers of the African Union (F-15) Meeting in Accra.
“As you are about to review the 2022 budget proposals, let me commend you, the Members of the Sub-Committee and the F-15, for the good work that you are doing, especially, your ability to reduce for the first time, the 2021 budget of the African Union during the sittings in 2020,” she said.
“This achievement is especially remarkable because the reduction positively affected the assessed contribution of Member States to the Union,” she said.
She noted that the economy of the African Continent was projected to shrink to between -1.1 per cent and -0.8 per cent, according to the report of the African Union and -1.6 per cent according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said as a consequence of the COVID -19 pandemic, all African economies had experienced negative impacts.
“It is important that public finances are managed prudently in order to ease hardships and enable investments in critical sectors for growth,” she said.
“I urge you all therefore, to work hard to ensure the necessary austerity measures are put in place in the 2022 budget.”
She urged the participants to be guided by the ‘Golden Rules’ for the proper management of the AU’s finances, adopted In January 2018, as they discuss the 2022 budget of the AU and its Organs.
She noted that those rules provide them with the basic principles to ensure credible budgeting and effective financial management of the African Union.
“As Member States, we would like to see value for the contributions we make; value in terms of the impact of the programmes and projects we roll out and implement on the continent on the lives of our people.
“Like many of our Member States, the Government of Ghana is particular about the competence, skills and efficiency of officers and staff of the Union,” she said.
She indicated that,”We want to see the quota policy respected to ensure that all Member States are fully represented in the Commission and not just a selected few.
“We are happy that after years of deliberation, our Ministers of Justice and Attorney Generals have finally considered and approved the Financial Rules and Regulations (FRR) and the Staff Regulations and Rules (SRR), which would be considered and adopted by the Executive Council in our next meeting, which is expected to be in October 2021.”
She added that this would not have been possible without this Sub-Committee and our F-15 experts.
She said over the past few years, she had followed, with interest, the joint meetings of the Sub-Committee on General Supervision and Coordination on Budgetary, Financial and Administrative Matters and the F15 Technical Experts.
“The role you play is critical to our ability to implement our continental ambitions as the Africa Union,” she said.