— Says NGOs are implementing about 60 per cent of the development funding that comes to Liberia
To efficiently issue documents to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are working in the development space of Liberia, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has concluded a one-day high-level meeting and working session with major stakeholders.
The meeting, which took place in Monrovia over the weekend, brought together representatives from across government ministries, agencies, and commissions including Ministries of Commerce, of Justice, of Health, and of Agriculture, as well as the Independent National Commissions on Human Rights, among others, to brainstorm on usage of an online NGO registration and accreditation platform in the country.
Deputy Finance Minister for Economic Management, Augustus J. Flomo, who provided an overview and importance of the platform, told his colleagues that the online platform is intended to move the government's reform agenda forward.
According to him, NGOs are implementing about 60 per cent of the development funding that comes to Liberia.
However, Flomo said the system is a one-shop-stop for interactions between the government and NGO community to continue to provide services to the people of Liberia in respective and assigned roles.
He revealed that the system allows the NGO to create their online account, provide all necessary information through the system which is automatically forwarded to the sector ministry for review and then sent to the Ministry of Finance for final accreditation.
Flomo said the system will promote teamwork, efficiency and effectiveness across the country.
“So, we call you here today because we want you to see this as an important piece of our development finance space that we should not overlook and downplay,” Flomo added.
He noted that before the creation of the online platform, NGOs were complaining that their time was consumed in processing documentation accreditation, a process which took up to nine months for some organizations.
It can be recalled that on August 18, the government launched a one-stop shop online platform to enhance the accreditation and registration process of non-governmental organizations in Liberia.
Prior to the launch, the process of registration and accreditation for NGOs were done manually, and took weeks to complete.
However, following concerns and expressed from partners about the long processes they had to go through, the Department of Economic Management at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) decided to create this one-stop framework for NGOs in making and working to do business in Liberia easy.
Flomo pointed out that the system doesn’t only reduce the person to person interactions, but it is also geared to ensure that NGOs and CSO conduct their activities in line with best international practices.
“The system allows NGO and CSOs to go online to create their accounts, and after all is done, they move to MFDP,” he said. “Everything is done digitally, and you have no reason to act when it’s already on your profile. Once the documents are correct, that should not take more than seven business days. That doesn’t mean that you must hit the seven working days at all costs.”
He explained that the system aims to promote accountability and transparency as it provides for adequate reporting.
“This is a one-stop shop for the government's interactions with NGOS activities. It comes after a series of meetings with an NGO. One of the major issues was the amount of time it took to become accredited.
“Because of this, we felt the challenge because it was not in the interest of the government, because, as we are aware, 60 to 70 people work through these very organizations. So we thought it would be prudent to introduce online accreditation to remove the bottom necks,” Flomo explained.
He told the participants that the goal of the system is to reduce the days and bottom lines that in turn affect the country’s economy.
“One of the benefits is to ensure that all NGOS are known by that sector. NGOs under this framework must have a good working relationship with their sector. We are doing this because your voices and the impact you are making must be reported in the development statistics of the country,” Flomo continued. “The system will promote efficiency across the government's development drive. Government effectiveness has to do with us, and so the responsibilities and mandates have to be executed.”
He added: “We want to increase and improve our scores on the MCC scorecard, and in doing so we are required to work in a time sensitive way to create efficiency and effectiveness within the government sector.”
Flomo said that NGOs work for the international community and will have to speak for the government, noting the development of the system will help present a better image of the country.