Effects of Public Expenditure Management Practices on Service Delivery in the Public Sector: The Case of District Assemblies in Ghana

George Kojo Scott


This research analysed how the public expenditure management as practiced in the District Assemblies of Ghana affect service delivery. The research adopted a mixed-method research approach where qualitative and quantitative data were gathered using questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis. Multistage sampling was used to pick the respondents for the questionnaires, key interview informants and the participants in the focus group discussions. Thirty four out of 170 district assemblies which existed by 2008 were sampled. Participants in the study included 612 District Assembly (DA) officials, 1020 citizens, 28 national/regional officials and 20 participants in focus group discussions. Quantitative data, measured by using scaled-items, were analysed using descriptive statistics and regression while qualitative data were examined thematically. The study established that expenditure management practices had positive significant influence on service delivery. The study recommends that, the DAs should prioritize expenditures to key service delivery areas such as; those that enhance poverty reduction, improve on Human Capital index and strengthen Innovations practices. DAs should strengthen electronic, automation and appropriate technologies for better expenditure management and service delivery. There should be laws to ensure stiffer penalties and enforcement of sanctions on those involved in malpractices in public expenditure management practices, while persistent efforts are made to implement recommendations of Auditor General’s reports on DAs expenditures management practices.

Full Text:



Abba, M., & Kakanda, M. M. (2017). Moderating Effect of Internal Control System on the Relationship Between Government Revenue and Expenditure. Asian Economic and Financial Review, 7(4), 381-392. https://doi.org/10.18488/journal.aefr/2017.7.4/102.4.381.392

Adams, R. A. (2006). Public sector accounting and finance: Made simple (Rev. ed.). Lagos, Nigeria: Corporate Publishers Ventures.

Adejoh, E., & Sule, J. G. (2013). Revenue generation: Its impact on government developmental effort: a study of selected local council in Kogi East Senatorial District. Global Journal of Management and Business Research Administration and Management, 13(4), 17-25. Retrieved from journalofbusiness.org

Adzroe, G. (2015). An overview of PFM reforms in Ghana. Presentation by the Controller and Accountant-General at the Labadi Beach Hotel during the IFAC Round Table Discussion on IPSAS from 21st-22nd May 2015.

Ahmad, E., & Brosio, G. (2009). Does decentralisation enhance service delivery and poverty reduction? Boston: Edward Elgar Publishing. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781849801850

Akrani, G. (2011). What is public expenditure? Meaning, definition. Accessed on March 2015 from https://goo.gl/E6eSfr

Allen, R., & Tomassi, D. (Eds.). (2001). Managing public expenditure: A reference book for transition countries. Brussels: OECD Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264192607-en

Andersen, G., & Isaksen, J. (2002). Best practice in capacity building in public finance management in Africa. Experiences of NORAD and SIDA. Bergen, Norway: Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Bartle, J. R., & Ma, J. (2004). Managing financial transactions efficiently: A transaction cost model of public financial management. In A. Khan & W. B. Hildreth (Eds.), Financial Management Theory in the Public Sector (1 - 23). Westport: Praeger Publishers.

Bhatia, H. L. (2009). Public finance. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House.

Broback, U., & Sjolander, S. (2002). Programme support and public finance management: A new role for bilateral donors in poverty strategy work. SIDA Studies No.6. Gothenburg: Novum Grafiska AB. Retrieved from http://goo.gl/B7zrh6

Campos, J. D., & Pradhan, S. (1996). Evaluating public expenditure management systems: An Experimental Methodology with an Application to the Australia and New Zealand Reforms. Washington: World Bank Publications.

Campos, J. E. (2001). What is public expenditure (PEM)? Governance Brief Issue 1. N.P.: Asian Development Bank. Retrieved from http://www.adb.org

Collins, B. K., & Khan, A. (2004). Information Asymmetry in Public Investment Management. In A. Khan & W. B. Hildreth (Eds.), Financial Management Theory in the Public Sector (25 – 54). Westport: Praeger Publishers.

Cuadrado-Ballesteros, B. (2014). The impact of functional decentralization and externalization on local government transparency. Government Information Quarterly, 31(2), 265-277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2013.10.012

DFiD (2001). Understanding and reforming public expenditure management. London: DFID.

Diamond, J. (2000). Public expenditure management. In Conference on Post-Election Strategy, 4, 5-7, Moscow, Russia.

Doh, D. (2017). Staff Quality and Service Delivery: Evaluating Two Ghanaian District Assemblies. IDS Bulletin, 48(2), 71-90. https://doi.org/10.19088/1968-2017.117

Essuman, A., & Akyeampong, K. (2011). Decentralisation policy and practice in Ghana: the promise and reality of community participation in education in rural communities. Journal of Education Policy, 26(4), 513-527. https://doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2011.554999

Faguet, J. P. (1999). Does decentralization increase responsiveness to local needs? Evidence from Bolivia. The World Bank. https://doi.org/10.1596/1813-9450-2516

Gaitho, P. R., Ogutu, M., Awino, Z. B., & Kitiabi, R. (2018). Strategic leadership and service delivery of County Governments: The Kenyan experience. International Journal of Economics, Commerce and Management [online], VI(11), 395-411. Retrieved from ijecm.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/61129.pdf

Heimans, J. (2002). Strengthening participation in public expenditure management. OECD Development Centre Policy Briefs, No. 22. Paris: OECD Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1787/640564834060

Herrala, M. E., & Haapasalo, H. J. O. (2012). Effect of governance models on enhancing water service delivery. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 25(5), 373-390. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513551211252396

Hwang, T., & Choi, D. (2012). Open innovation in the public sector of leading countries. Management Decision, 50(1), 147-162. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251741211194921

Inkoom, D. K. B. (2011). Ghana's decentralisation: Two decades and still crawling & quest. Development, 54(3), 393-399. https://doi.org/10.1057/dev.2011.68

Kim, J. K. (2018). The Human Capital Gap Getting Governments to Invest in People. Foreign Affairs (July). Available at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2018-06-14/human-capital-gap

Klievink, B., & Janssen, M. (2009). Realizing joined-up government - dynamic capabilities and stage models for transformation. Government Information Quarterly, 26(2), 275-284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2008.12.007

Kwak, S. G., & Kim, J. H. (2017). Central limit theorem: the cornerstone of modern statistics. Korean journal of anesthesiology, 70(2), 144. https://doi.org/10.4097/kjae.2017.70.2.144

Lee, R. D. (2012). Public budgeting systems. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Lienert, I. (2003). A comparison between two public expenditure management systems in Africa. Washington DC: International Monetary Fund. https://doi.org/10.5089/9781451841787.001

Mangan, J., Lalwani, C., & Gardner, B. (2004). Combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies in logistics research. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 34(7), 565 – 578. https://doi.org/10.1108/09600030410552258

Martin, L. L. (2004). Bridging the gap between contact service delivery and public financial management: Applying theory to practice. In, Khan A. & Hildreth W. B. (Eds.) Financial management theory in the public sector (pp.55-70). Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Nica, E., & Potcovaru, A. M. (2015). Effective m-government services and increased citizen participation: Flexible and personalized ways of interacting with public administrations. Journal of Self-Governance and Management Economics, 3(2), 92-97.

North, D. C. (1990). A transaction cost theory of politics. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2(4), 355-367. https://doi.org/10.1177/0951692890002004001

Oduro, K. N. (2003). Results-oriented public expenditure management: Case study of Ghana. London: Overseas Development Institute.

Ojo, O. (2009). Efficient Financial Management for Local Governments: The Nigerian Experience. Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti Bulletin, Economic Sciences Series, 61(2) 36-44.

Osborne, S. P. (Ed.). (2009). The new public governance: Emerging perspectives on the theory and practice of public governance. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203861684

Osei-Akoto, R. D., Osie, W., Quarmine, G. A., & Adia (2007). Public spending at the district level in Ghana: Ghana. Strategy Support Paper (GSSP) Background Paper No. GSSP 0008. Accra: International Food Policy Research Institute.

Otieno, J. O., Odundo, P. A., & Rambo, C. M. (2014). Influence of local authority transfer fund (LATF) on service delivery by local government authorities in Kenya. International Journal of Management and Marketing Research, 7(1), 59-72.

Premchand, A. (1993). Public expenditure management. Washington D.C.: International Monetary Fund.

Regmi, K., Naidoo, J., Pilkington, P. A., & Greer, A. (2009). Decentralization and district health services in Nepal: understanding the views of service users and service providers. Journal of Public Health, 32(3), 406-417. https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdp116

Republic of Ghana. (1998a). Auditor General’s Report 1997. Accra: Ghana Publishing Company

Republic of Ghana. (1998b). Serious Fraud Office Report 1997. Accra: Ghana Publishing Company

Republic of Ghana. (2000). Ghana, Auditor General’s Report 1999. Accra: Ghana Publishing Company.

Republic of Ghana. (2011). Auditor General’s Report 2010. Accra: Ghana Publishing Company.

Republic of Ghana. (2014). Auditor General’s Report 2010. Accra: Ghana Publishing Company.

Roberts, J. (2003). Managing public expenditure for development results and poverty reduction. London: Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

Schick, A. (1998). A contemporary approach to public expenditure management. Washington D.C.: World Bank Institute.

Scott, G. K. (2016). Influence of public financial management practices on service delivery: a case of District Assemblies of Ghana. Unpublished PhD Thesis. University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

Scott, G. K. (2018). Accounting and Financial Reporting Practices as Tools for Service Delivery in The Public Service: The Case of Ghana’s District Assemblies. Researchjournali’s Journal of Accounting, 6(1), 1-16. Retrieved from https://www.researchjournali.com/view.php?id=4257

Shah, A. (Ed.). (2007). Budgeting and budgetary institutions. Washington D.C.: World Bank Publications. https://doi.org/10.1596/978-0-8213-6939-5

Simson, R., Sharma, N., & Aziz, I. (2011). A guide to public financial management literature. London: Overseas Development Institute.

Uchimura, H. (2012). Health Development in the Decentralized Health System of the Philippines: Impact of Local Health Expenditures on Health. In Fiscal Decentralization and Development (pp. 73-99). Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230389618_4

World Bank (2003). Case study 2-Porto Alegre, Brazil: Participatory approaches in budgeting and public expenditure management. Social Development Notes; No. 71. Washington: World Bank. Available at https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/11309

World Bank (2005). Public expenditure and financial accountability (PEFA): public financial management - performance measurement framework (English). Washington DC: World Bank. Available at http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/217821468325188878/Public-expenditure-and-financial-accountability-PEFA-public-financial-management-performance-measurement-framework

World Bank (2017). Fiscal consolidation to accelerate growth and support inclusive development: Ghana public expenditure review. Retrieved from documents.worldbank.org

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jpag.v9i2.14617

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Journal of Public Administration and Governance  ISSN 2161-7104

Copyright © Macrothink Institute

'Macrothink Institute' is a trademark of Macrothink Institute, Inc.

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'macrothink.org' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.