The Government of Liberia and the World Bank Group on Wednesday signed a grant financing agreement of US$19 million to invest in the Public Financial Management Reforms for Institutional Strengthening (PFMRIS) program.
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) signed on behalf of the government, while the World Bank was represented by its Country Director Pierre Laporte
Finance Minister Samuel Tweah said the PFMRIS project is intended to improve the domestic revenue mobilization systems and strengthen financial control and accountability in public finance.
Tweah disclosed that the two effective conditions set forth for the implementation of the financing agreement has been fulfilled, adding that the MFDP has set up a Project Management Unit (PMU) and has also done the preparation and adoption of the Project Implementation Manual.
He noted that the PMU predominantly comprises civil servants and is headed by a project manager.
According to Tweah, the project implementation manual has been developed and approved by the World Bank Project Task Team.
He indicated that the implementation of the Budget Planning and Preparation Module has commenced, stressing that the National Information and Communication Technology (NICT) policy has been developed awaiting cabinet’s approval.
“The development of the IFMIS Roll-out strategy is ongoing, while the recruitment of the Independent Verification Agent for the disbursement Linked Indicators under category four has started,” the MFDP boss said.
Meanwhile, the World Bank Country Director, Pierre Laporte, asserted that an effective and efficient Public Financial Management system in the public service embraces fiscal responsibility, strategic resource allocation, service delivery, and eradicates or minimizes corruption.
The official assured the public that the World Bank will ensure the implementation of the project, adding: “With the official signing of the legal agreement between the government of Liberia and the World Bank, we have officially agreed as the world Bank to support the implementation and success if this project.”
“For this project, the expected outcome will lead to strengthened domestic revenue mobilization systems through improved online on time filling for large and medium taxpayers,” he noted.
Laporte cautioned the citizenry that the expected outcomes cannot be achieved without introducing and adhering to good international standards and practices, adding that the project will start by facilitating the conduction of a Public Expenditure and Financial Assessment (PEFA).
“The results of the PEFA will be used for assessing and reporting on the strengths and weakness of public financial management in Liberia. The use of public resources requires a high degree of transparency and accountability.
“Therefore, there is a greater demand for protecting the public purse by ensuring that the public resources are used for the intended purposes to ensure value for money,” the World Bank official emphasized.
He underscored the importance for the collaboration of other developmental partners in the public financial management sector, and called on the European Union and the Swedish Government to support the process.
He extolled other development partners for their commitment and support toward the project.
The key public financial program is expected to last for five years.