EGIRP Ends Years of Building Capacity

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After the civil unrest, Liberia was left with a poor governance structure characterized by corruption and abuse of public resources.
Strengthening transparency and accountability was a burden for the new administration taking over.
In 2006 when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took office, she immediately recognised that improving economic governance and strengthening public administration was important for the forward march of the country torn by 14 years of civil unrest.
Resulting from this awareness, the government and its partners decided to design an initiative to improve economic governance and strengthen public administration based on the Poverty Reduction Strategy component that has to do with Governance and the Rule of Law.
In no time, the World Bank provided intervention by establishing the Economic Governance and Institutional Reform Project (EGIRP) in 2008 to institute the necessary reforms in the public financial management sector. The aim was to improve budget execution, human resource management, revenue administration, payroll and civil service reforms.
The war destroyed productive assets, physical infrastructure, institutional and human capacity and eroded public confidence in the government.
The EGIRP project over the years has been able to mend Liberia’s broken economic governance structures thus reducing waste in government and improving services in various ministries and agencies.
A letter from the World Bank to Mr. Amara Konneh, Minister of Finance and Development Planning, rated the project as satisfactory in achieving the project development objectives with a disbursement rate of 99 percent.
At the close of the program, ministries and agencies that benefitted from EGIRP lavished the project team with praises for being able to take the government to another level in terms of economic governance.
World Bank representative, Timothy Bulman, outlined the impact of the EGIRP project on several government agencies, adding that it sought to promote transparency in government.
“We like to note that this project has impacted capacity building in financial management and procurement. To date we have 20 qualified procurement specialists, who graduated from intensive procurement training and are working in ministries and agencies.” Bulman addeHe said that the project has been able to assist the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) in strengthening its revenue administration, noting that business procedures for commercial registration of tax payers have improved.
“Other achievements made by the EGIRP include the IFMIS, its impact on the accounting system disbursement and Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) procurement system has been developed and is operational,” Bulman said.
He assured the government of Liberia and its people about the World Bank’s commitment to growth and development of Liberia.
Deputy Finance Minister for Administration, Edward Essieh said the project is President Sirleaf’s desire to strengthen the public financial sector.
Minister Essieh said that the program also supports the PRS.
He added that the project has made impacts on both public and financial management sectors.
“As the result of the project this country can boast of a system put in place to improve capacity and help reduce corruption,” Essieh added.
PPCC-Director James Dorbor Jallah says the project has lived its purpose adding that institution assistance to the PPCC cannot be overly stated.
“PPCC have received funds from EGIRP to conduct procurement training for procurement personnels at various ministries and agencies in Liberia,” Jallah added.
LIPA Director General Oblayon Nyemah said that he is grateful for the level of cooperation his institution has received from EGIRP.
“This project focuses on two components of LIPA, namely strengthen of capacity and training of procurement officers,” Nyemah said.
Nyemah said that the project has trained overseas three LIPA employees who obtained master’s degrees in procurement.
The LIPA boss noted that the project has transformed procurement practices in Liberia.
After an assessment by the World Bank, it identified the need to strengthen the project management aspect and a Liberian, Boniface Satu, was hired to coordinate the EGIRP project.
The EGIRP program has completed all of its project activities, adding that it was expected to close in June 2015.
Satu said the project over the years has supported governance and institutional reforms by strengthening Public Financial Management processes and systems.
“Part of our work is to build the capacity of civil servants with focus on public procurement as a pilot and initiating civil service reform,” Satu said. According to him, the government has requested for additional financing of US$7 million due to the scaled up activities.
He said the funds will finance the cost overrun and establish the project management as a separate component.

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