The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has launched an electronic travel card that will control the travel expenditure of the government and public officials.
The card is designed to regulate and control waste and misappropriation of funds by travelling officials through a cashless disbursement of travel allowances and other payments for local and foreign trips by officials.
When fully rolled out, an e-travel card portal will also be established to replace the manual system of managing imprests by public officials.
The system will also facilitate automation and integration processes from the point of initiation of card issuance, funding of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), and other entities through approvals and disbursement by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.
It will further provide expenditure tracking and retirement of accountable imprests.
The Vice-President launched the card at the 22nd annual delegates conference of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department in Cape Coast in the Central Region yesterday.
The two-day conference, which was on the theme: “The role of the CAGD in advancing the digitalisation agenda of Ghana,” was attended by regional directors and other staff of the department, finance officers from metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies (MMDAs) and regional coordinating councils, among others.
According to Dr. Bawumia, the government’s digitalisation agenda had so far ensured that about 80
percent of the population had tax identification numbers, including paperless clearing at the ports, acquisition of passports, and renewal of the national health insurance, among others.
He said it had also afforded students the opportunity to apply for loans online while reducing the incidence of bribery and corruption.
“Digitalisation is a shining light on the darkness of malpractices, bribery, and corruption,” Dr. Bawumia added.
The Vice-President said the government would continue to build systems to enhance transparency, accountability discipline, trustworthiness, and inclusiveness, adding that: “fundamentally, you fight corruption with systems, not with rhetoric or talks”.
He further said the system would eliminate the risk of cash transactions for official travels, ensure transparency, accountability, and the timely retirement of accountable imprests.
“We will invariably be able to achieve value for money in line with government’s commitment to saving the public purse,” Dr. Bawumia said.
The Vice-President commended the CAGD for providing sound public financial management services to promote government business.
The Controller and Accountant General, Mr. Kwesi Kwaning-Bosompem, said the introduction of the card marked a milestone in the digitalisation agenda to protect the public purse.
According to him, the manual system was laborious as officials needed to change the local currency into foreign currencies at the banks and forex bureaux and in some cases at the black market at exorbitant rates.
He also said some officials failed to account for imprests advanced to them, thus, making it difficult to ascertain whether they were used judiciously.
Mr. Kwaning-Bosompem gave an assurance that the CADG would continue to improve efficiency in its service delivery through digitalisation.
For his part, the Head of Civil Service, Nana Kwesi Agyekum Dwamena, urged public workers to embrace the digitalisation agenda to improve efficiency and keep pace with the changing world.
A citation was presented to Dr. Bawumia for the immense role he has played in the country’s digitalisation agenda.