Government of Ghana’s Budget: An Assessment of Its Compliance with Fundamental Budgeting Principles
Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32870
Government of Ghana’s Budget: An Assessment of Its Compliance with Fundamental Budgeting Principles

Authors: Mohammed Sani Abdulai


Public sector budgeting, all over the world, is underpinned by some universally accepted principles of sound budget management such as budget unity, universality, annuality, and a balanced budget. These traditional principles, though fundamental, had, in recent years, been augmented by the more modern principles of budgeting within fiscal objective, alignment with medium-term strategic plans as well as the observance of such related concepts as transparency, openness and accessibility. In this paper, we have endeavored to shed light, from literature and practice, on the meaning and purposes of such fundamental budgeting principles. We have also assessed the extent to which the Government of Ghana’s budget complies with the four traditional principles of budget unity, universality, annuality, and a balanced budget and the three out of the ten modern principles of budgetary governance of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We did so by using a qualitative method of review and analysis of existing documents and the performance assessment reports on Ghana’s Public Financial Management (PFM) measured using such frameworks as the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA), the Open Budget Survey (OBS) and its Index (OBI), the reports and action plans of Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT). Other performance assessment reports that were relied on included, but not limited to, the Joint Evaluation Report of PFM in Ghana, 2001-2010, and the Joint Evaluation of Budget Support to Ghana, 2005-2015. We have, through this paper, brought to the fore the lessons that could be learned on how those budgetary principles undergird the Government of Ghana’s budget formulation, execution, accounting, control, and oversight. These lessons include, but are not limited to, the need for both scholars and practitioners in the PFM space to be aware of the impact of those principles on public sector budgeting.

Keywords: Annulaity, Balanced Budget, Budget Unity, Budgetary Principles, OECD’s Principles on Budgetary Governance, Open Budget Index, Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability, Universality.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 598


[1] Murray, C. A. (1970). Classical Principles in Modern Government Budgeting. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 36(2), 109-114.
[2] Pattaro, A. F. (2016). Budgetary Principles. Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance, 1-8.
[3] OECD. (2015). Recommendation of the Council on Budgetary Governance. OECD Publishing, Paris. Available at Accessed on January 8, 2020
[4] Abdulai, Mohammed S. (2020). “Public Financial Management in Ghana: A Move beyond Reforms to Consolidation and Sustainability.” International Journal of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. 14 (6): 424-438.
[5] Bowen, Glenn A. (2009). “Document analysis as a qualitative research method.” Qualitative Research Journal. 9(2): 27-40.
[6] Hanson, Janice L., Balmer Dorene F., and Giardino Angelo P. (2011). “Qualitative research methods for medical educators.” Academic pediatrics. 11(5): 375-386.
[7] Stourm, Rene. (1917). The Budget. Translated by Thaddeus Plazinski. New York: D. Appleton and the Institute for Government Research
[8] Sundelson, J. Wilner. (1935). “Budgetary principles.” Political Science Quarterly. 50(2): 236-263.
[9] Khan, A., & Hildreth, W. B. (Eds.). (2002). Budget theory in the public sector. Greenwood Publishing Group.
[10] The Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Bill. (2017). Available at<> accessed on September 3, 2019.
[11] Jacobs, P. D., Hélis, J. L., & Bouley, D. (2009). Budget classification. IMF Fiscal Affairs Department. Available at accessed on August 18, 2019.
[12] Duplay, R. (2013). How to Decide on the Budget: Set Menu or à la Carte? IMF’s Public Financial management Blog. Available at accessed on January 9, 2020.
[13] Florina, B. O. B. E. Ș. (2013). The Applicability of the Principles that Govern the Budgetary Activity. Studies in Business and Economics, 8(1), 5-10.
[14] Hyndman, N., Jones, R., Pendlebury, M., & Martin, G. (2005). Annuality in public budgeting: an exploratory study. London: CIMA Research Report.
[15] Poterba, J. M. (1995). Balanced budget rules and fiscal policy: Evidence from the states. National Tax Journal, 48(3), 329-336.
[16] Canada’s Governor General. (2013). Seizing Canada’s Moment Prosperity and Opportunity in an Uncertain World: Speech from the Throne to Open the Second Session of the Forty-First Parliament of Canada October 16, 2013 available at accessed on December 28, 2019
[17] The IMF Fiscal Rules Dataset includes 96 countries and covers four types of rules: budget balance rules (BBR), debt rules (DR), expenditure rules (ER), and revenue rules (RR) available at
[18] IMF (2017). Fiscal Rules at a Glance. Available at accessed on December 28, 2019
[19] Ministry of Finance. (2019). “Fiscal, and Financial Stability Councils now Established.” Available at> accessed on January 8, 2020
[20] PEFA. 2016. Framework for Assessing Public Financial Management. Available at accessed on August 31, 2020.
[21] Government of Ghana. 2018. Ghana’s 2018 PEFA Report. Available at Accessed on August 31, 2020.
[22] M. Betley, A. Bird, and A. (2012). Ghartey, “Evaluation of public financial management reform in Ghana, 2001–2010”, Final Country Case Study Report, Joint Evaluation, available at < > accessed on May 31, 2019.
[23] EU and IEG. (2017). Joint Evaluation of Budget Support to Ghana (2005-2015). Available at accessed on January 10, 2020.
[24] Ramírez-Alujas, Á., & Dassen, N. (2014). Winds of Change: The Progress of Open Government Policymaking in Latin America and the Caribbean. Inter-American Development Bank available at accessed on January 10, 2020.
[25] Zawiślińska, Izabela. (2015). “Open Government Partnership as a new global intergovernmental initiative.” Studia z Polityki Publicznej. 5(1): 119-136.
[26] OGP. (2020). “OGP Handbook Rules + Guidance for Participants”. Available at accessed on August 30, 2020
[27] OGP. (215). National Action Plan for Republic of Ghana 2016-2017. Available at accessed on August 30, 2020
[28] Petrie, M., Robins, D., Ramkumar V., and Guerrero, J. (2015). “Fiscal transparency in open government partnership countries, and the implementation of OGP commitments: An analysis.” London: Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency. Available at accessed on August 30, 2020
[29] OECD and GIFTS. (2012). Budget Transparency Toolkit. Available at accessed on January 11, 2020.
[30] Sarr B., & Friedman, J. (2016). The Road to 61: Achieving Sufficient Levels of Budget Transparency (Washington, D.C.: International Budget Partnership).
[31] IBP. (2019). Open Budget Survey 2019. Available at accessed on August 31, 2020.
[32] IBP. (2016). Guide to the open budget questionnaire: An explanation of the questions and the response options. Available at accessed on January 19, 2020.
[33] Ghana’s Public Financial Management Act (Act 921). Available at accessed on January 19, 2020.
[34] Ramkumar, V., and Shapiro, I. (2011). Guide to transparency in government budget reports: why are budget reports important, and what should they include? Washington: International Budget Partnership (IBP). Avaliable at accessed on January 19, 2020.