By: Momoh B. Siryon
Amara Konneh-Finance Minister, World Bank Liberia Country Manager Ms. Inguna Dobraja
The government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and partners yesterday completed the signing of the Liberia Integrated Public Financial Management Reform project agreement at the Mamba Point Hotel in Monrovia.
The IPFMRP valued at US$28.55M will support the expansion and will deepen the scope of reforms relevant to advancing accountability, transparency and the reduction of corruption in public institutions.
The project will work towards improving budget coverage, fiscal policy management, financial control and oversight of government’s finances.
Other areas will be strengthening the PFM legal framework, enhancing budget planning systems, coverage and credibility; and strengthening revenue mobilization and administration, program governance and project management.
In a remark on behalf of World Bank Liberia Country Manager Inguna Dobraja, delivered by Acting Country Manager Coleen Littlejohn said the Integrated Public Finance Management Reform Project is anchored on the PFM Reform strategy which seeks to widen and strengthen the foundation of public financial management as highlighted in the first phase of the PFM reform process.
She noted that the project will emphasize on concrete improvements in selected systems, procedures and resources in a manner that would enable Liberia to gradually develop its own institutional, organizational and human resources capacities in the next three to four years.
She pointed out that the support from development partners to the ongoing PFM reform process in the country has, until recently, been provided through bilateral initiatives, mainly from the World Bank, AFDB, IMF, EU and SIDA.
As a result, she added, problems with coordination have occurred , resulting in both funding gaps for the reform agenda as well as overlapping of donors support for certain activities.
Ms. Inguna Dobraja affirmed that the new project has instituted improved donor coordination and harmonization of support to Liberia.
Also in a brief remark, the Country Director of USAID Patricia Rader said the project recognizes that public financial management is not just in the purview of the Ministry of Finance and lines ministries, but it explicitly involves active engagement with other branches of government and civil society.
“This will permit civil society to receive grants to build capacity in budge analysis and monitoring from preparation to approval and execution”, the USAID boss noted.
She disclosed that media training for journalists covering the budget is also provided for through this component, while the legislative component of the program is valued at US$630,000.00. “It seeks to enhance the legislature’s oversight roles and responsibilities”.
For his part, the Coordinator of PFM-RCU Bernard Jappah said working with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, an agreement was reached for more coordinated approach to the government of Liberia’s PFM reform agenda.
He said as a consequent of this, a joint GoL-World Bank-IMF team in 2010 crafted a draft comprehensive PFM Strategy and Action Plan from 2011/2012-2014/2015 to guide the implementation of the reform of which all parties were involved.
In a comment, the acting Finance Minister Sebastian Muah added that the IPFMRP will guide the government of Liberia in its implementation program, “public expenditure tracking system is working to know where the money goes”.