By Kruah Thompson
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has launched an awareness program on Public Financial Management (PFM) in Liberia.
The program was launched at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) on Thursday, June 2, 2022.
It is launched to help clarify the national budget in context and at the same time achieve overall fiscal discipline, allocation of resources to priority needs and effective and efficient allocation of public services.
During the launch exercise, the Comptroller and Accountant General of the Republic of Liberia, Atty. Janga A. Kowo disclosed that the project is funded by the World Bank.
Atti. Kowo explained that when the project is launched, it will reveal the estimated total fraction of public expenditure on public projects in the country.
He detailed that the main objective of PFM is to improve the lives of citizens through better management of public money, saying that at the time people collected taxes from the government, but that is today the case of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).
“So it is our responsibility to tell the public how these taxes are used to benefit the people of Liberia, that is the goal of the PFM,” he said.
After the launch of the PFM project, he said, an initial team of supervisors will be disbursed to verify how government money has been spent on a public project across the country.
“We go after every penny, so when you see them they have not come to accuse you, but to check if the funds allocated by the government [are] put to good use,” he explained.
Explaining further, Atty. Kowo said they need to see what resources are available to the country each year and how those resources have been deployed in the service of the people.
“The main thing is not how much resources we have as a country, but how much we spend, that’s the compelling reason for the launch,” Kowo said.
He added that Liberia’s post-war financial management began when the caretaker government came to power.
Mr. Kowo also said that the then caretaker government formulated interim financial rules to help them tap into the country’s financial resources because at the time there were no PFM laws.
According to Atty Kowo, the law was then revised in 2019 to adapt to the changing realities of the PFM landscape, among which was the establishment of the Department of Comptroller and Accountant General within the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
“The amendment was necessary because the GFP Act of 2009 had been in force for 10 years, so it needs to be amended and updated to reflect the current reality,” Kowo noted.