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Public Policy and Administration
This study examined the impact of fiscal decentralization on quality financial reporting at the local government level in Ghana. The study is important because it provides development partners with the assurance that Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) funds are used for their intended purposes. The study was based on the theory of local public expenditures, which posits that fiscal decentralization may enhance local capacities for service delivery. The key research question examined the extent to which fiscal decentralization has influenced quality financial reporting at the local level. The research design was quantitative, randomly sampling stakeholders in the local government structures including traditional rulers, assembly members, principal spending officers, budget officers, auditors, and accountants (n = 65). Descriptive plots, Pearson chi-square, and multiple regression analysis were used to examine the relationship between the dependent variable of quality financial reporting and the independent variables of expenditure responsibilities, taxation powers, intergovernmental fiscal transfers, and borrowing powers. The results of the analysis revealed taxation powers to be the most significant contributor to quality financial reporting. Quality financial reporting improved internally-generated resources, reduced audit queries, and served as a basis for granting funds to MMDAs. The study recommends that MMDAs be given taxation powers to enable local assemblies to generate more revenue so as to minimize the need for the transfer of funds from development partners and central government. The significant social change implication of this study lies in giving MMDAs control of service delivery at the local level.