—World Bank Country Director Nthara asserts
The World Bank Country Director to Liberia, Khwima Nthara, says the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) plays a pivotal role in the mobilization of resources and the effective and inefficient use of those resources for the development of Liberia.
IAA is a body charged with the responsibility to manage, direct, control, coordinate, set standards and procedures for the conduct of internal audit activities in all government ministries, agencies, public corporations, Central Bank of Liberia and commissions.
“Development is about mobilizing resources and making sure that those resources are utilized efficiently and effectively in order to meet the development needs of the citizens,” Nthara said.
Nthara made the remarks on Thursday, February 9, at the launch of the program marking the Public Sector compliance scorecard, Pentana audit software and recognition of internal auditors organized by the IAA held at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
In Liberia, Nthara said, development is about how Liberians mobilize resources, how those resources are being deployed, what those resources are spent on effectively and efficiently to meet the needs of the people of Liberia including roads, education and energy.
To achieve this, Nthara said “internal auditors have a critical role to play in Liberia’s development and the political will is also key. I hope this tool Pentana and the scorecard will be utilized. The IAA remains the first line of defense in government as an anti-graft institution,” he said.
Minister of Finance and Development Planning, (MFDP), Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., said with the launch of Pentana and the scorecard, he sees the dawn of a new day in governance in Liberia.
“If we achieved 60% of the Pentana and the scorecard, it means we are changing governance totally in this country under President George M. Weah. Again, we need to use the scorecard to change things.
He said the launch of the IAA’s new initiative will lead to value for money by helping the government to save more. “We will ensure that all government institutions abide by the IAA program and you have the support of the president,” he said.
The Director-General of the IAA, David A. Kemah, said the scorecard will be a tool to provide feedback on low performance and identify areas of non-compliance and such feedback will influence the IAA’s decision about areas where it can concentrate the internal control function in the public sector.
Kemah said the Pentana audit software will transform internal auditing in government as it marks the departure from the old, manual method of performing internal auditing, to an automated, digitalized, and cloud-based modern audit software for the first time in the public sector.
According to him, the IAA validation stamp will authenticate that the IAA auditors have reviewed a document and confirmed that it is in compliance.
“While these new measures will not resolve all of the challenges in the public sector, we are convinced that if executed as intended and the needed budgetary support is provided to the IAA, they will strengthen internal controls and improve compliance in the public sector,” Kemah said.
Kemah said as it was stated in the President’s State of the Nation Address to provide increased budgetary support to the IAA, the support will strengthen IAA, enabling the entity to address staff development needs, additional equipment and transportation for expansion to the counties.
“With the budgetary support received from the government, we have conducted some in-service training, met 10% of our computer needs, and carried on some minimum repairs on the building to make it habitable. To improve performance in the public sector, we have validated the IAA audit regulation, an internal audit manual, and an audit procedural manual to standardize the internal audit function for auditors, and strengthened our audit recommendation and implementing unit and developed a strategic plan to direct the entity for the next five years,” Kemah said.