GoL to Launch Comptroller, Accountant General’s Department

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… In Accordance with PFM Act

The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning will on October 21, 2020, upgrade the Comptroller and Accountant General’s (CAG) Office to a Department at the Ministry.

The Ministry’s move, according to a press release, is in compliance with the amendment and restatement of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act of 2009, which called for the CAG office to be moved from a division under the Department of Fiscal Affairs to a new Department of its own within the Ministry.

Section I of the Amended and Restated PFM Act, approved by the National Legislature on October 22, 2019, states that “the Comptroller and Accountant General Office within the Department of Fiscal Affairs at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning was given the full authority through the National Legislature, and with the consent of the Minister of Finance and Development Planning to be a full department.”

According to the Act, “the Amended and Restated PFM Act of 2009 shall govern all matters related to the management of the Public Finance of the Republic of Liberia. This act lays out the fundamental procedures for the preparations, adoptions, executions and final accounts of the National Budget and related matters including internal control, accounting, and auditing of public financial assets, as well as the arrangement for public debt and government guarantees”.

Liberia’s Comptroller & Accountant General, Atty. Janga A. Kowo thanked the National Legislature and the entire leadership of the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning for passing the proposed amendments to the Public Financial Management Act of 2009 which, among other things, calls for the establishment of a Comptroller & Accountant General’s Department within the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning.

Kowo also commended Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of Liberia, for what he termed as “finally penning his signature to the revised and approved PFM Act of 2019 thus, putting Liberia on par with other countries in the sub-region and demonstrating the Government of Liberia commitment to strengthening public financial management in the country”.

He also expressed gratitude to development partners for their technical and financial support which has significantly contributed to the level of progress made so far in the country’s public financial management reform process over the years.

Some support he named includes: “the automation of government budget execution through IFMIS free-balance at the Ministry of Finance & Development, and the extension or rollout of the automation process to fifty (50) Ministries, Agencies & Commissions (MACs) with plans to roll out to the remaining fifty-seven MACs.

In addition, the Amendment and Restatement of the Public Financial Management 2009 Act says, “it shall be supplemented by enabling regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning with approval by the President to further, specify the procedures in each of the areas mentioned herein which may be amended from time to time”.

Furthermore, the Legislature, in the execution of its oversight responsibilities, shall ensure that all regulations issued pursuant to this act, prior to implementation by the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning, are harmonized with this Act.

It shall apply to all agencies, entities, and institutions of the Central Government for the purpose of this Act, according to Section I. The Central Government includes the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, along with all accompanying agencies, entities and institutions, as well as autonomous public agencies under Central Government control.

Atty. Kowo also appreciated the Project Management Unit at the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning for the level of support and guidance in the planning process, stating that “we look forward to continuous cooperation with the Bank in terms of technical and financial support and in our PFM reform drive”.

4 COMMENTS

  1. For sake of comparison, the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports to the Legislature, not the U.S Secretary of Treasury. The person is appointed by the President based on bipartisan recommendations. Congress created GAO in 1921 to assist in the discharge of its core constitutional powers to investigate and oversee the use of federal funds and the power to make laws.

    It is a legislative branch government agency that provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for the U.S Congress. The GAO is the supreme audit institution of the federal government of the U.S Congress, and serves Congress and the American people. Liberia needs a GAO free from Executive Branch interference to ensure independence hence gain public confidence and trust lacking in other integrity institutions.

    • Thanks for this recommendation, it is indeed insightful. My comment on this is good to remain in the Executive branch as it is, because if it went under the Legislature, it will be worse than the Executive. Our Legislature’s composition tells what they are there for: Money and not nationalistic, the only thing that put them into motion is the brown envelopes, they are not interested in what is in the laws, whether it is for the betterment of the state or not.
      They are suppose to received the audit reports from the GAC, and determine what should be done, are they doing it? suppose to confirm public officials and ratify contracts and loan agreement between the Republic of Liberia and external parties, are they doing it? this is a do not care Branch of Government that should be occupied by serious people, but the Liberian electorates settled for crumbs from the tables. The Liberia’s Problem.

  2. Oh well, with wild allegations thrown at GMW while the integrity trio, senators N. Kangar-Lawrence and A.D Dillon backed by Rep. Y. Kolubah, are idle, I thought this would’ve been their opportunity to show commitment for accountability. In the final analysis, financial health of government is a stability indicator, not military capacity.

  3. Mr. Moses, you have to come down on planet earth!
    Why will you always compare our system with that of the USA?
    This amendment is indeed commendable, but there are loopholes to close to guarantee safety, security and accountability.
    The amendment should embed an early warning alert system to all relevant players within the ministry, the central bank of Liberia, the legislature and the executive, tactfully putting the judiciary in the know-hows for eventual litigation.

    With the current amendment, Weah can still extort money with all authority. Mr. Kowo is indeed a smart guy working underground for Weah, but some of us have seen the loopholes. The ANC will close it and guarantee sanity in public finance management!

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