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The budget as a communication tool helps decision makers to make informed choices about the provision of services and capital assets and to promote stakeholder participation.As a communications device, the budget allows public officials to interact and engage with citizens and taxpayers (Lapsley & Ríos, 2015).
This is reinforced by Essuman and Akyeampong (2011) as well as Inkoom (2011) who contended that after more than two decades since the adoption of decentralization in Ghana, there remained valid concerns which need to be studied through continuous robust theoretical and empirical analysis.
It is from this perspective that the study assessed the influence of budgeting practices adopted by District Assemblies in Ghana on service delivery, with the main proposition that the budgeting practices do not significantly affect service delivery.
Furthermore, as noted by Russell and Bvuma (2009) there is a need to plan, budget for and implement actions which have the potential of radically improving the reach, accessibility and quality of service delivery in the African public sector.
According to Tsheletsane and Fourie (2014), financial management fulfils an important role in the South African public sector, because without public funds to cover operational and capital costs, and without appropriate personnel, no public institution can render effective services.
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 importance of budgeting can be linked to the new public management (NPM), the allocative efficiency, transaction cost, the principal agent and systems theoretical perspectives.
Hamid (2013) based on the tenets of NPM approach, notes that efficient resource management is essential in accelerating the pace of economic growth and development, as well as improving the general wellbeing of the society.
Decentralized budgeting has thus become crucial, and the need for proper budgeting practices has been identified as essential for developing nations, including those in Africa.
Siswana (2007) notes that proper budgeting assists public sector entities to ensure that expenditure patterns in relation to programmes and projects occur within a budgeted vote.