Liberia’s CAG Wants Comptrollers “Under One Roof”

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Liberia’s CAG and other senior officials of government including Comptrollers and Accountants at the 2-day workshop on Awareness and Orientation on the newly created CAG Department, held in Buchanan.

A two-day workshop to ensure that comptrollers and accountants of government of various line ministries and agencies have adequate understanding about the newly created Comptroller and Accountant General (CAG) Department at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), and in continuation of the reform exercise, was recently held in the Port City of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. 

The workshop, organized by the CAG Department, was held from December 18-19, 2020, under the theme: “Awareness and Orientation on the newly created Comptroller and Accountant General Department and the ongoing transition process.”

The two-day event brought together over 100 Comptrollers and accountants, including principal deputies of some ministries and agencies under the reform that necessitated the transition of the Comptroller and Accountant General Department at the Finance Ministry.

The workshop is in line with the ongoing Public Financial Management Act (PFM) reform exercise, and part of the transition process of comptrollers and accountants to the MFDP under the Comptroller and Accountant General Department. 

Also, it is part of an effort to improve public financial management and to consolidate a unified government financial reporting and accounting.

Liberia’s Comptroller and Accountant General Atty. Janga A. Kowo, speaking at the start of the workshop, stated that it was important for Comptrollers to be “under the same roof” for enhanced coordination to improve the efficiency of accountants for the government.

The transition, he said, will also ensure that Comptrollers and accountants are re-vetted for better deployment in their ministries and agencies. 

Meanwhile, professional certificate training has been earmarked for comptrollers and accountants, and it will be done by the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA). 

The Comptroller and Accountants General Office of Liberia transitioned from being a unit, under Fiscal Affairs Department to a Department through the Amended and Restatement of the Public Financial Management Act of 2009.

Under Section I of the Amendment and Restatement of the Public Financial Management act of 2009, approved by the National Legislature on October 22, 2019, the Comptroller and Accountants 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.

The section furthered that the Amendment and Restatement PFM Act of 2009 shall govern all matters related to the management of the Public Finance of the Republic of Liberia. 

The act also lays out the fundamental procedures for the preparations, adaption, 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.   

The Act Accordingly shall be supplemented by enabling regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Finance and 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.

For his part, Deputy Director for Administration at Internal Audit Agency (IAA) presenting on the entity’s experience by bringing all auditors under one “umbrella”, said the reform which brought about the creation of the IAA made it possible.

David A. Akoi said all auditors employed by the government will not be monitored, supervised and deployed on an annual basis by the agency. The Internal Audit Agency, according to him, has a mandate to perform all internal audits related to government functions.  

The CSA role in the transition of comptrollers and accountants to the CAG Department was also discussed. 

LICPA President, Victor S. Tanwone speaking on the role of trained professionals in the reform process encouraged comptrollers and accountants to form part of the training program at LICPA in order to be certified and marketable on the international scene.

Carrow Botoe, Auditor Manager at the GAC, presented on the importance of partnership between the newly created CAG Department and the General Auditing Commission.

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