Liberia: Ministry Of Finance And Development Planning Establishes Comptroller And Accountant General Department To Ensure Genuine Financial Management

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MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia says it will today Wednesday launch the establishment of the Comptroller and Accountant General Department of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning which will situate the country on a solid and sustainable path to genuine Public Financial Management Reforms.

The launch of the Comptroller and Accounting General Department is informed by the passage of the amended and Restated Public Financial Management Act of 2009, which has automatically transitioned the CAG Division under the Department of fiscal Affairs at the Ministry of Finance to a new Department of its own within the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning with overarching responsibilities of the Comptroller and Accountant General of the Republic of Liberia.

The establishment of the comptroller and Accounting General Department is a key reform that has been requested by the International community for several years. Under the new reform, public officials appointed will have little control over the Comptrollers and Accountants in their offices and will also be unable to bring in and remove comptroller and Accountants at will.  All government Comptrollers and accountants in the Republic will now be under the direct supervision of the Comptroller and Accountant General of the country.

In remarks ahead of the launch of the Department, Liberia’s Comptroller and Accountant General praised President George Weah for penning a real critical reform that has been delayed for several years. He said the President’s decision to get through with the reform under the amended and restated PFM Act of 2019 shows the government’s determinations to sustain the reform process of the country’s Public financial management system started three years ago.

Atty. Janga A. Kowo said the new reforms will place Liberia in straight compliance regional and global best practices in public financial management and public sector accounting and level the country up with its peers in the sub-region. He said wrongful practices in government accounting over the years has been the result of replacement of comptrollers and accountants across government ministries and agencies thereby resulting in challenges in the disbursement, accounting and Reporting of government finances. Under the new arrangement, Government Financial Comptrollers and Accountants will have protection against arbitrary dismissals and transfers.   He said this will substantially bring   financial reporting processes in sync throughout government

Section 1 of the Amended and Restated PFM Act of 2009, approved by the National Legislature on October 22, 2019, states “the Comptroller and Accountant General Office within the Department of Fiscal Affairs at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning was given the full authority through the National Legislature and with the consent of the Minister of Finance and Development Planning to be a full department”

The section furthered that “the amendment and Restatement PFM Act of 2009 shall govern all matters related to the management of the Public Finance of the Republic of Liberia. This Act lays out the fundamental procedures for preparations, adoptions, executions, and final accounts of the National Budget and related matters including internal control, accounting, and auditing of public financial assets, as well as the arrangement for public debt and government guarantees”.

Additionally, the Act states that, the Legislature in the execution of its oversight responsibility shall ensure that all regulations issued pursuant to this act prior to implementation by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning is harmonized with this Act.

The new Act shall apply to all agencies, entities, and institutions of the central government. The Act describes Central Government as the Executive, Legislature, and the Judiciary along with all accompanying agencies, entities, and institutions, as well as autonomous public agencies under Central Government Control.

Liberia’s Comptroller and Accountant General, Atty. Janga Kowo also thanked international Partners (AFDB, World Bank, SIDA, EU, USAID, ETC) for providing funding to support the establishment CAG Department through the PFM REFORM PROJECT at the Ministry of Finance and Development. He also thanked the   National Legislature and the entire leadership of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning for passing the proposed amendments to the Public Financial Management  Act 2009, which among  other things calls for the establishment of a comptroller and Accountant General’s Department within the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

He expressed gratitude to the development partners for their technical and financial support which has significantly contributed to the level of progress made so far in the public financial management reform process over the years.

He named some of the support to include, the automation of government budget execution through IFMIS free-balance at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the extension or rollout of the automation to fifty (50) government ministries and Agencies with plans to roll out the remaining fifty-seven (57) MACS.

Atty. Kowo also appreciated the Project Management Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning for the level of support and guidance in the planning process, stating that “we look forward to continuous cooperation with the Bank in terms of technical and financial support and in our PFM reform Drive.”

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