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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Liberia: Overturning Post-War Financial Management Reform

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A ranking Senator plans to undo a key piece of public financial management legislation that was enacted in the aftermath of Liberia’s civil wars.

The law, which has been in place for more than a decade, established strict guidelines and oversight mechanisms for government socio-economic development planning, spending and budgeting.

Grand Kru County Senator Numene Bartekwa is advocating for the disaggregation of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. The move could reshape Liberia’s economic management structure, should lawmakers accept the proposal

Senator Bartekwa believes that the existing consolidation of these functions under a single ministry has hampered the country’s developmental agenda. He argues that the strength of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has primarily been seen in the preparation of the national budget and the disbursement of funds, while the planning aspect has been largely ineffective.

“We need to revisit that Law; those two ministries need to be disaggregated. They need to be separated, let the Ministry of Planning take its full charge and the Ministry of Finance take its full charge,” the senator suggested during a recent session of the Liberian Senate.

Bartekwa recounted that during the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs existence, each of Liberia’s 15 counties had Planning Officers who worked closely with local administrations to craft their development and planning agendas, with the consent of the central government. The senator believes that this model was more effective in driving the country’s developmental priorities.

The current structure of the ministry  an offshoot of the 2006 public sector reform, which saw the consolidation of the core public finance, economic management, and development planning functions into the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).

While the MFDP reform aimed to streamline and optimize government operations, Senator Bartekwa believes the current structure has been ineffective and inefficient in meeting the country’s development and planning needs.

The public and policymakers will be closely watching to see if the senator’s call for a separation of development and planning functions from the finance ministry gains traction in the legislature.

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