–Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs Discloses
By Mark Mengonfia
Authorities at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) have disclosed plans to reach out to counties and communities with its weekly report on the National budget.
The Public Financial Management Law requires that the institution makes quarterly report to the Liberian Legislature on budget performance, the task which had gone very slowly since the coming of President George Weah led government.
Speaking on Thursday during a joint talkshow by four media institutions, Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Samora Wolokollie said they are taking different approach to ensure that the report is done in time.
The MFDP Deputy Minister for fiscal affairs boss said, each week, the ministry will highlight ten spending entities and as well name and shame government institutions who will failed to make weekly report.
Mr. Wolokollie acknowledged the efforts that were made years back; adding that they were all in compliance with the Public Financial Management law which requires a quarterly report to the legislature.
He was quick to say that their approach focus on expenditure from various ministries weekly using media institutions who are tax compliance to propagate the information.
The weekly report is expected to break down all of the spending by government.
“Like emphasize this very clearly and unequivocally that the launch of this report is unprecedented,” Deputy Minister Wolokollie said.
Additionally, he said they are going to engage the media, traditional groups to go along with them as they move from County to County explaining the report to ordinary people who do not have access to the internet or radio.
He said no government has reported weekly, published reports in local dailies as it is expected to be done by the Weah led government.
“We will overwhelmed the public with the report, we will take the report to them weekly,” the Minister intoned.
Some of the means he said they are going to employ for the smooth sailing of the process is by working with Liberia Telecommunication to have text messages distributed to citizens as was observed during the campaign period wherein messages were sent out.
When he was asked how they are going to keep on with the weekly report when they can not submit quarterly to the Liberian Legislature as required by law, he said they provide the report to the Legislature and published on the MFDP website although members of that Legislative body have complained many times that they do not receive the report in time.
Although the ministry of finance has been very slow on making reports to the Liberian Legislature,but speaking on the joint talkshow he said ” We are showing to you that we know it, we are bluffing,we are showing up. A report that by law be provided quarterly or annually is provided weekly, yes, we know it.”
The reason they are going to the street, newspaper according to him is that not everyone has access to the internet and that they want many Liberians to get access to how their money is being used by the government.
The next report is expected to be out by Wednesday of next week and therein, the income and expenditure are going to be seen in the three pages document.
Minister Wolokollie highlighted the importance of the media in providing information to the public,but stressed that he will propose a training for media institutions to have understanding on the fiscal reports.
Speaking additionally the Deputy Minister said the Weah led government has done much with the little they have received from partners have impacted as compared with the Ellen led government over the 12 years.
He indicated that with the little they are receiving and the policies they have employed, at the end of this budget year, the Weah led government is not going to be indebted to workers including the media adding that it will be the first time to get such a report.