Yacoub EL Hillo, Assistant Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator of the United Nations (UN) in Liberia, has called on the George Weah-led government to account for the funds provided for projects implementation over years.
Hillo said in the last few months, several UN’s agencies have experienced challenges in getting timely and accurate reports from their government counterparts, thereby delaying implementation of essential services and advisory support to the people of Liberia.
He said that the situation in the medium to long-term, “may lead to withholding of funding by our partners for UN programs in Liberia with all the attendant negative consequences.”
Mr. Hillo made the called through a communication to Nathaniel F. McGill, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, in which he said, “In extreme situations where the cash advance modality is not being used correctly by implementing partners, the UN agencies, fund and programs may discontinue and revert to Direct Implementation Modality (DIM) to avoid risk of delays in program implementation.”
He meanwhile expressed gratitude to the Liberian government for recognizing the United Nations system as a central provider of high-quality technical support, policy advice and development assistance in a wide variety of thematic areas.
“We look forward to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our development cooperation with the Liberian government by joining forces in achieving the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development over the coming years,” Mr. Hillo said.
He said said as the UN continues to address Liberia’s development challenges jointly, it is important to bear in mind that the United Nations strictly adheres to its fiduciary (trust) responsibility towards its donors and member states.
According to Hillo, explicit guidelines and high operational standards to safeguard UN funds against misuse and integrity risks are unyielding principles underpinning their work.
“To strengthen national ownership and accountability for development results, the UN agencies, funds and programs are gradually moving from DIM to national implementation modality under the harmonized approach to cash transfer framework where cash is transferred to national implementing partners to carry out development activities agreed in annual work plans,” he said.
He further indicated to Minister McGill that for implementing partners to receive cash advance, they must be micro assessed to ensure that they have good financial management capacity, including accounting, procurement, reporting and internal controls as well as a system for recording accounting transactions and appropriate filing of financial documentation.
Mr. Hillo added that under the National Implementation Modality (NIM), the UN expects that implementing partners assume full responsibility for effective use of the resources advanced to them and for reporting, fairly and accurately, on project progress against agreed work plans in accordance with the reporting schedule. “They are expected to maintain documentation and evidence that describes the proper and prudent use of project resources,” Mr. Hillo said to Minister McGill.