Norton (2006) creates the link between budgeting and planning, indicating that planning is an intelligent behavior that involves visualizing the future, imagining what results one expects to achieve and determining the activities and resources needed to achieve those results.
In addition, Jordaan (2007) defines a budget as a quantified, planned course of action over a definitive time period, comprising estimating inputs and the costs of inputs along with associated outputs and revenues from outputs. (2013) on the other hand indicates that budgeting is the activity of recording financial and/or non-financial elements into the budget.
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.
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.This paper looked at budgeting as practiced in the DAs where issues on budgeting policies, processes, persons involved as well as public dissemination of the budgets were analyzed and how they influence service deliver.The case for decentralization and decentralized budgeting remains strong especially in Africa (Hope, 2014) where countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa have adopted varied strategies to strengthen decentralization (Finch, 2015).According to Hyde (1992) as cited by Khan and Hildreth (2002), budgeting is partly political, partly economic, partly accounting and partly administrative.Michel (2002) adds that the budget is also a communication tool.The study findings have significant implication on the public administrators, citizens and scholars as it established the importance of having in place proper budgeting practices if the public sector decentralised governments and agencies will be able to deliver satisfactory services to the public especially in the African context. In the same vein, Jordaan (2013) observes that understanding public financial management is imperative as it forms an integral element in national development and growth which is central to the existence of functional governments.Cite this paper: George Kojo Scott, Francis Enu-Kwesi, Role of Budgeting Practices in Service Delivery in the Public Sector: A Study of District Assemblies in Ghana, Human Resource Management Research, Vol. Budgeting which is one of the key components of the public financial management has been termed as the genesis of functional public administration.Decentralized budgeting practices in Ghana have been linked to attempts to reduce inequity, since over time citizens have not gotten the desired fruits of equitable resource allocation.Inkoom (2011) highlights the agency problems, noting that there is conflict in the budgeting process because district assemblies are required to budget and report by integrating all the decentralized sectors, while the sector ministries execute financial reports on sectoral lines.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.