As Liberians Crave For Officials To Be Audited, Gbarpolu County Senator-Elect, Amara Konneh Explains
Taken on his social media platform, Face Book, the former Minister of Finance, Planning and Development, and now Senator-elect for Gbarpolu County, Amara Konneh has been speaking on the issue, noting, ‘Managing your Expectations: audits are not only about money; they’re about people also.
I spent the evening with some former colleagues who came to congratulate me and offered prayers. We also discussed audits and the “harmonization” policy.
Correcting the “harmonization” policy cannot just be about reversing political hires and salary cuts. When I was Finance Minister, one of the first things we did was cut ghosts from the payroll. One of the last things we also did was rationalize the public sector, using the Finance and Planning Ministries as a pilot. We merged the two and took out the revenue function. We reframed the structure, based on our actual needs, then did internal and external recruitment to fill the new roles. The whole process was driven by results from skills, jobs, and process audits. In the end, MOF went from 3,000 staff to about 700. We channeled savings from the payroll toward public investment.
It was a success! It was also painful. It was tough for staff, who spent months participating in that process while fulfilling regular duties. It was painful and scary for interns and other staff, who had no degree and had entered the system through irregular means. It was hard to let them go; we tried to do so justly. But, for the country, it was worth it!
The new UP Government can do it again. They can do it even better. But, make no mistake: it will take time, it will be expensive, and people you like and depend on may be affected. Are you ready?
Expectation is the mother of all conflicts. Manage it!