A three-day aid policies and standard operational procedures manual (SOPM) validation workshop, organized by the Aid Management and Coordination Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, with support from United Nations Development Program (UNDP), was climaxed on Friday, April 26, 2019 in Kakata, Margibi County.
The event brought stakeholders together, among them were development partners, representatives of local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), who discussed issues within the aid management and coordination sector.
Specifically, the validation process was in line with the ‘manual’ and will serve as a guide for all actors within the aid management and coordination sector, including the NGOs, specifying their respective roles and responsibilities in the management and coordination of external assistance.
It streamlined processes and procedures to reduce ambiguities and over-complications in the business process by simplifying the aid cycle and the NGO accreditation process.
It also enhanced the MFDP’s (AMCU/NGOCU) ability in providing effective and efficient leadership, coordination and management of aid in support of Liberia’s development goals of the Poor-pro Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), as well as reduce administrative bottlenecks for development partners.
Mrs. Alice E. Williams, director for Aid Management and Coordination Unit, said the exercise helped reduced delay in the planning and implementation of development activities by increasing information flow, while at the same time, reduced government, NGO and development partners tax processing time.
She said the process increased alignment of development partners and NGO’s activities to government development priorities through robust donor (development assistance) coordination by outlining procedures toward, sustaining development.
At the end of the exercise, participants were able to contribute towards adapting the practical steps and procedures as outlined in the SOPM.
“This will be the giants step towards making transparent, the mobilization and coordination of external assistance,’. says Mrs. Williams, noting that the SOPM is aligned with the PAPD, because it commits external assistance to the country’s system.
“There is a direct link to development priorities channelled through various national budget sectors, she added.
According to Mrs. Williams, the national development priorities are identified based on the practical steps and procedures, included in the SOPM. These are supported by development partners based on national budget sectors via country systems.
Representatives from the local and international NGOs called on MFDP to set up a standardized template, and to give line ministries a set of procedures for sectoral clearance, proof of participation in county level coordination meeting, and annual audited financial statement for expenditure in Liberia.
It can be recalled that between September 26-29, 2018, the MFDP, development partners/donors, project managers, international NGOs and their local counterparts conducted the final validation workshop of the Liberia National Aid and NGO policy in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County.
The rationale was for the government to derive its development objectives, and to achieve its Pro- poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, (PAPD), and for the formulation of the Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) manual, which is vital and paramount in ensuring effective and efficient delivery and coordination of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The SOP clearly articulates and guides Liberia’s engagement with development partners providing assistance to the country in a more organized and comprehensive way that guided all other actors in the aid architecture.