Fiscal Transparency (SEK0003)
Action Plan: Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana Action Plan
Action Plan Cycle: 2017
Lead Institution: Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly
Support Institution(s): Government Metropolitan Budget Officer, Public Relations Officer , Revenue Mobilization Officer, NCCE, Information officer, IT Officer; Civil Society, Private Sector: Berea Social Foundation (Lead CS); Friends of the Nation, Kyzz FM, AGI, STCCI
Policy AreasCapacity Building, Fiscal Openness, Public Participation, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information, Records Management, Subnational, Tax
Issue to be addressed: Management of the Assembly and the citizens need financial data on a regular basis to do their job and understand how the Assembly is using their money. However, there is no system in place to manage, share and receive feedback on financial information although there is an MIS Unit in the Assembly. Due to this situation, citizens do not have access to the right information on their contributions (rates and fees) and external inflows (donors and central government) and how these funds are used in service and infrastructure provision. Also internal information sharing (in the right format) is inadequate for decision-making by some key departments within the Assembly. Primary objective: To build citizen‟s trust and confidence in resource allocation and utilization and also strengthen fiscal transparency and accountability. Short Description: Create a localised standard operating procedure for streamlining financial records management and sharing. STMA would come out with a disaggregated financial records format that would be simple, easy to understand and analyze. This would respond to the needs and expectations of citizens on how generated revenue and external inflows are expended. OGP challenge: The execution of the commitment will strengthen fiscal transparency, openness and accountability. Citizens will understand the financial information shared with them at town hall meetings and SPEFA sessions. The commitment has the overall impact of reducing citizen‟s apathy in the payment of taxes and rates needed for development as openness and accountability would be promoted. Also citizens would see the real impact of their financial contributions and other statutory payments from central government.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
3. Fiscal Transparency
Create a localized standard operating procedure for streamlining metropolitan financial records management and sharing by developing a simple, easy-to-understand and analyze, disaggregated financial reporting format. This would respond to the needs and expectations of citizens on how generated revenue and external inflows are expended.
3.1. Develop 3 to 5 financial data sharing “use cases.” The STMA will engage with citizenry, to develop a preliminary set of 3–5 “use cases” for requesting and obtaining financial data. “Use cases” will encompass both requests for internal use and sharing financial information outside of the Assembly.
3.2. Develop an STMA operating procedure. Based on the 'use cases,' the STMA will develop operating guidelines on the format and time of delivery of financial information and the collection of feedback.
3.3. Test new procedure widely. The Assembly together with the CSOs through the Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (SPEFA) framework will test the new procedures over three months to streamline financial data sharing.
3.4. Share progress in financial management publicly. The Metropolitan Assembly will share progress in financial data management and procedures during management meetings, external forums including town hall meetings, and SPEFA sessions.
|Status of Completion||Limited|
|Start Date||January 2017|
|Intended Completion Date||December 2017|
|Responsible Office|| |
Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA)
|Did It Open Government?||Marginal|
Is it a STAR commitment?
Starred commitments are considered exemplary OGP commitments. To receive a star, a commitment must meet several criteria:
- It must be specific enough that a judgment can be made about its potential impact. Starred commitments will have “medium” or “high” specificity.
- The commitment’s language should make clear its relevance to opening government. Specifically, it must relate to at least one of the OGP values of Access to Information, Civic Participation, or Public Accountability.
- The commitment would have a 'transformative' potential impact if completely implemented.
- Finally, the commitment must see significant progress during the action plan implementation period, receiving an assessment of 'substantial' or 'complete' implementation.
Overall Objective & Relevance
The action plan recognizes that the STMA needs financial data on a regular basis to perform its functions. Citizens, including CSOs, also need information on financial inflows received by the STMA and how these financial resources are spent. However, there is no system in place to manage, share, and receive feedback on financial information, although there is an MIS unit in the Assembly. Due to this situation, citizens do not have access to the right information on their contributions (rates and fees) and external inflows (donors and central government) and how these funds are used in providing infrastructure and services in the metropolis. Also, as stated in the action plan, internal information sharing (in the right format) is inadequate for decision-making by some key departments within the Assembly.
The fundamental objective of the commitment is to build citizen trust and confidence in resource mobilization, allocation, and utilization and to strengthen fiscal transparency and accountability. The metropolitan finance office will create a localized standard operating procedure for streamlining financial record management and sharing. The department will develop a disaggregated financial records format that would be easy for citizens to understand and analyze. This would respond to the needs and expectations of citizens on how generated revenue and external inflows are expended.
Specificity and Potential Impact
Overall, this commitment is highly specific, as it gives a clear range of financial sharing “user cases” (three to five) that the STMA will develop along with a clear timeline for when STMA will test its new operating procedure for the collection and gathering of feedback on financial information (three months).
The commitment does not indicate whether lack of information or fiscal transparency is creating a problem of low local revenue generation. However, it could reduce citizen apathy in the payment of taxes and rates needed for development, as it will serve to provide information on revenue mobilized and how it is used. This would strengthen fiscal transparency, openness, and accountability. Potential impact of this commitment would be assessed by ascertaining the diversity of community participation in the planning and decision- making process. Diversity of community membership is critical to ownership of the projects, and the extent to which community inputs were taken on board in the planning and design of the projects, subject to their technical/ engineering feasibility. Evidence of financial statements on community notice boards, and evidence from town hall meetings discussing financial positions will also be useful for monitoring of public spending.
The STMA has engaged stakeholders in developing financial data-sharing user cases. The operating procedure/guidelines on format and time of delivery of financial information and collection of feedback are being developed. STMA worked with the Engineer Room (an international organization that helps activists and organizations use data and technology to increase impacts) to develop user cases on financial data sharing and engage Assembly officers. On 24 October 2017, the Engine Room provided the STMA a document with supporting information that provides a framework for the STMA’s data-sharing protocol.  The document includes recommendations on data models and examples of different ways to publish these types of data.
The self-assessment report recognizes that this commitment saw limited completion by the end of the implementation period.
Early results: did it open government?
Access to Information: No change
Civic Participation: No change
The commitment sought to create a localized standard operating procedure for streamlining metropolitan financial record management and sharing by developing a simple, easy-to-understand and to analyze disaggregated financial reporting format over the period from January 2017 to December 2017. The commitment was targeted at building citizen trust and confidence in resource allocation and utilization and at strengthening fiscal transparency and accountability.
The commitment sought to enhance civic participation access to information and public accountability, but there is very little evidence that the commitment has achieved these goals. This is due to the delays in implementation. One of the achievements was the partnership with the Engine Room and the document to support the creation of the data-sharing protocol. Due to the lack of progress, there is no evidence of any change in open government.
Moving forward, the STMA should continue the implementation of this commitment aiming to increase financial transparency. Budget information is accessible through audit reports or released by Ghana’s Ministry of Finance like the Assembly’s composite budget. The STMA should create a financial transparency strategy that considers the creation of open-data compatible systems and mechanisms to publish this information, aiming to generate greater citizen trust in the system. The Engine Room, Data-Sharing Protocol and Recommendations, file:///Users/opengovernmentpartnership/Downloads/Data%20Sharing%20protocol%20and%20recommendations%20for%20STMA%20Ghana%20v1.pdf
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