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Public Finance, Accountability Under Scrutiny

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the war declared on corruption during her inaugural speech in 2006, was targeted at various fronts, including strengthening pillars of integrity, building legal framework, reducing venerability, automating financial management system and creating an environment that engenders public debate.

The president noted that it is because of the fight against corruption that for the first time in the country’s history government has established independent institutions for the so purpose of strengthening integrity and accountability in the management of public resources.

She noted that it was because of the fight against corruption an autonomous General Auditing Commission with an auditor general was recruited through competitive process. At institutional level, government has strengthened and capacitated the GAC and allows it to carry out its constitutional mandated as enshrined in the Constitution of Liberia, according to the President.

She added that government has also set up the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission, which is actively investigating cases of impropriety in the use of public funds.

She furthered that the Public Procurement and Concession Commission has been restructured and its procurement regulation adapted to make that body more responsive to procurement dimension in budgetary execution. 

Speaking at program marking the official launch of the Integrated Financial Management Information System or IFMIS, President Sirleaf said government has merged the Bureau of Budget with the Ministry of Finance to reduce fragmentation and harmonize decision making on policy coordination.

She noted that the expenditure department of the Ministry of Finance has been restructured to enhance functionality for the Controller and Accountant General. The legal and regulatory framework of the Public Financial Management system has also witnessed significant advances in terms of reform.

“FIMIS is intended to address a number of budget management issues, efficiency, transparency and accountability. These are issues that post serious challenges in the mobilization and use of resources for reconstruction and development. As Liberia resource envelopes expand from one year to the next, the task of managing budget processes will become more complex.  With IFIMIS, it is our expectation that the current budget preparation and execution will be faster than what they are now,” she stressed.

Speaking earlier, Finance Minister Augustine Ngafuan, said reporting in the public sector has been a major challenge over the years. Under the new PFM system, the Government of Liberia is under obligation to provide statutory reports to the people of Liberia and development partners, said the finance boss.

“The IFMIS will provide benefits to the people of Liberia, including fully operational modern computerize accountant system in the Ministry of Finance that is capable of producing complete, accurate and reliable financial statement for government within statutory deadlines.”

“It will also provide smooth budget execution through improved system for budget allotment, commitment control, procurement, cash planning and reporting as well as better management of human resources,” Minister Ngafuan outlined.

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