In order to bring transparency to the national budget, the civil society organization known as Grassroots Democracy on 4 April launched the media section of the Integrated Public Finance Management Reform Project (IPFMRP) of the Open Budget Initiative designed by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).
The media awareness element targets citizens of Nimba County and uses local radio stations with 30 hours of airtime.
It intends to provide answers to frequently asked questions or what the citizens ought to know in order to enhance their understanding on matters relating to the national budget of Liberia.
The Open Budget Initiative is a policy of the Government of Liberia on what the government wants citizens to know about the national budget and to promote greater participation and engagement of citizens in the country’s wealth.
Many people do not have any knowledge of the budget which makes it difficult for citizens to give their input on the national budget.
In the civil society (Grassroots Democracy) point of view, citizens cannot give any feedback on the budget owing to its complexity.
The Executive Director of Grassroots Democracy, Mr. Martin Sopp, said “For a very long time, the citizens only hear about the budget, but are completely ignorant of what the national budget is.
“This is one reason for which this document must be reduced to a citizen friendly paper affordable by all and easily understood as compared to its majestic nature over the years.”
According a survey conducted by his organization, he said in over 200 communities in Nimba, “many citizens do not know whether there is an allotment out of the county development funds in the national budget for administrative costs in every county.”
He said, “In order not to hold our leaders as being corrupt, the government has decided to bring the management of the nation closer to the citizens so that they can take responsibility of their own wealth and stop ignorantly accusing the planners of the money in Monrovia of corruption through the process called Integrated Public Finance Management Reform Project/ IPFRMP.
“The IPFRMP is an initiative of the government of Liberia implemented by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning with support from the World Bank which focuses on the national budget.”
He added that IPFRMP aims to help the Government of Liberia achieve its expenditure goals through an efficient management of public funds and the delivery of services to Liberian citizens.