Liberia Making Strides Toward Budget Transparency, Says Global Initiative Group

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Monrovia – The Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency(GIFT) and the International Budget Partnership has recognize the effort the George Weah-led government has made to promote budget transparency.

Both GIFT and IPD, in notifying the government through Finance and Economic Planning Minister Samuel Tweah, said: “Although the work has sometimes not yielding the expected results and inevitably challenges remain, we know that your leadership has always strongly advanced the disclosure of information on the use of public resources and the expansion of the possibilities for public participation in the budget process. In the 2019 edition of the IBP’s Open Budget Survey, Liberia had a 6% increase compared to the 2017 results.”

The two organizations said the MFDP has collaborated as much as possible to share its own experience and to benefit from the peer-to-peer technical collaboration the GIFT network has developed a guide to support to its global mandate and collaborative approach, the GIFT network Offers.

In 2019, Liberia was selected to be part of the Fiscal Openness Accelerator, a project to pilot public participation mechanism in the budget process and further improve in budget transparency. Now, the organizations say, they would like to take some additional steps, small but with significant impact. “First, given the catastrophic pandemic and its profound implications in all areas, including public finances and fiscal systems, we would like to help Liberia in facing this crisis with the greatest possible fiscal transparency.”

As part of its global mandate and collaborative approach, the GIFT network has developed a guide to support its members in responding to the fiscal challenges of COVID-19 with timely and accessible information that helps identify governmental databases and data fields required for informed decision-making processes and meaningful fiscal transparency, with a user-centered and purpose-oriented approach.

GIFT also expressed interests in discussing with authorities at the Ministry of Finance, the concrete, possible and simple steps the Ministry could take to substantially improve budget transparency and public participation that are in line with the CBS 2019 results for Liberia as well as the targets set in IBP’s call to action on open budget. “These are times of profound, painful uncertain transformation, unlike anything we have ever experienced before. At the same time, there are incredible opportunities we must definitely seize, such as digital tools that can be used to bring the governed closer to their authorities; and new social contracts that favor more promising outcome, trust in government authorities, transparency in the use of public resources and informed participation are central and indispensable elements.”

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