MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has over the years deployed a number of systems improvements in financial reporting that are contributing significantly to overall enhancement of the country’s financial management systems. These activities have been executed in close consultation with our development partners for the purpose of checks and balances and to emphasize our overall transparency agenda.
Recently, a team of World Bank Experts concluded the compilation of the final draft of the amended public financial management regulations after months of consultation with the Minister of Finance, the Department of Fiscal Affairs, the Office of the Comptroller General, Authorities at the Liberia Revenue Authority and Integrity Institutions in the country. The amended regulation has included sterner penalties to improve mandatory financial reporting and controls intended to curtail loopholes in our revenue generating systems.
The Ministry of Finance through the Department of Fiscal Affairs and Office of the Comptroller General has introduced the single treasury account (STA), that will serve a platform for receipt of all GoL revenue and facilitate real-time reconciliation of revenue and expenditures. This platform will enhance fiscal actors monitoring and evaluation of revenue collection and disbursement of State’s resources and improve transparency and accountability in Government.
As a means of improving documentation of financial transactions: including vouchers and other documents that provides audit trail for transactions, we have established the document management system which is being rolled-out across Government Ministries and Agencies. This instrument will serve as an automated storage of all documentation of transactions and aid in strengthening evidence during current and post reviews of transactions. Our quest to improve documentation have yielded tangible fruits, especially when compare to previous year gaps identified during the audit of the consolidated financial statements. Please see improvements as indicated in the chats below:
|FY 2016/2017 Audit
|FY 2017/2018 Audit
|FY 2018/2019 Audit
|FY 2019/2020 Audit
|Consolidated revenue reconciliation report not provided for audit.
|US$88.98 million expenditure vouchers not provided for audit.
|US$4.56 million expenditure vouchers not provided for audit.
|US$881,000 expenditure vouchers not provided for audit.
While we recognize the need for continuous improvement in our document management systems with the aim of achieving full accountability, we applaud the efforts made thus far and will continue to engender systems that will promote the achievement of transparency and accountability.
Our desire to further reinforce judicious controls leveraging on Information Communication & Technology Systems has led us to initiate a number of projects with our development partners. The World Bank through its Public Financial Management Reforms for Institutional Strengthening Project (PFMRISP) has targeted a number automated activities to achieve during the life span of this project. These activities include:
- The expansion of IFMIS at all Ministries & Agencies of Government
- The installation of fiber optics connection to support the operations of IFMIS at 50% of all Ministries & Agencies of Government.
- The roll-up of the budget module in the IFMIS
- The establishment of the electronic fund transfer system between the Central Bank of Liberia and the Office of the Comptroller & Accountant General
- And the establishment of E-Procurement at all Ministries & Agencies of Government
The World Bank funded Integrated Tax Administration System Project (ITASP) at the Liberia Revenue Authority has also concluded Business Process re-engineering activities aimed at upgrading and expanding the ASYCUDA (Revenue Reporting) Software at all ports of entry in the country. The upgrade and expansion phase which is expected to commence soon will be followed by a stabilization phase to include effectively operationalizing the software at the various sites of expansion.
The World Bank also intends to follow-up these projects with a proposed project title: “Public Sector Modernization to Improve Service Delivery”. This proposed project, which is in its development phase, will pick-up from where the (PFMRISP) and the (ITASP) stop with the aim of implementing full automation of financial management activities in Government. A case study of this project was successfully implemented by the World Bank in Rwanda.
We also appreciate the significant roles play by integrity institutions in providing prudent recommendations to improve our services. We take these recommendations very seriously and have appointed staff with the specific responsibility of following up the implementation of audit recommendations. To ensure we have a more independent and vibrant integrity sector, we have increased the budgets of all integrity institutions (optional -add average percentage) in the current FY 2022 Budget to facilitate the achievement of their objectives.