By David A. Yates and Alvin Worzi
“To manage an economy efficiently, there must be in place a set of government goals, rules and regulations to control or stimulate the aggregate indicators of the economy,” says Dr. Mounir Siaplay, Deputy Governor for Economic Policy at the Central Bank of Liberia.
Dr. Siaplay, who spoke on Monday, June 11, at the opening of a two-week regional course on Macroeconomic and Public Financial Management, Debt, Budgeting, Planning and performance in Monrovia, said these goals, rules and regulations frame the macroeconomic policies which in turn are framed to meet the macroeconomic goals.
The training is organized by the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) in collaboration with the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and will end on June 22.
He said that aggregate indicators involve national income, money supply, inflation, unemployment rate, growth rate, interest rate and many more.
“We live in a complex and interconnected world in which many factors influence the economy of a country as a whole. Without proper macroeconomic management, poverty reduction and social equity are just not possible,” he said in a statement delivered on behalf of CBL Executive Governor, Milton A. Weeks.
He said sound macroeconomic management is essential for growth and poverty reduction in the country.
In the past, Dr. Siaplay said, poor macroeconomic management in many African countries had discouraged investment and disrupted development programs.
However, in recent years, most African countries have started to perform much better, bringing inflation under control and reducing their budget deficits.
“Unfortunately, we have not yet seen this growth translate into major progress on employment creation and poverty reduction in our country,” Siaplay said.
He further said that formulation and monitoring of macroeconomic policies include issues relating to analysis and projections of the four core macroeconomic sectors, real sector, fiscal sector, monetary sector, and external sector.
Dr. Siaplay told the participants that the challenges to modern budgeting and planning are enormous in “our Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Notably among them are: lack of information to facilitate budgeting; poor integration of the public sector policy making; budgets overruns; non-involvement of communities or beneficiaries in our budget preparation; and poor budget implementation as well as inadequate monitoring of programs after implementation.
“It will, therefore, be appropriate for us, in this course, to look at some of these challenges and how best to address them.”
Prof. Akpan H. Ekpo, Director General of WAIFEM, lauded the Executive Governor of the CBL, Milton A. Weeks and his team for the support provided for the smooth organization of the course.
Prof. Ekpo said upon completion of the course, participants will be able to understand the importance of public financial management in macroeconomic analysis and management and also identify the linkages between the components of PFM systems and improved economic and fiscal performance.
He said the course is intended to ensure that participants are able to design and analyze the different stages of the PFM cycle from the perspective of local conditions and political institutions.
Ekpo said that the public sector financial management issues have come to the fore in recent times, due to the fact that sound macroeconomic management can only thrive on prudent fiscal policies aimed at maintaining a low budget deficit and a sustainable public debt profile.
He said the surge in interest is also attributable to recent trends in public sector activity, with movements towards decentralization and delegation of authority in more cases.
“I am certain that the course will do justice to the various topics and issues under considerations,” Prof. Ekpo concluded.