Government’s compliance to the 2016 Public Financial Management (PFM) Act and its accompanying regulations 2018, has improved to 82% in August 2022 from 70% in November 2021. This was revealed in Budget Advocacy Network’s latest scorecard on Selected Mandatory Public Financial Management Information disclosure edition of August 23rd, 2022.
The Public Financial Management (PFM) Act, 2016 requires Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to report fiscal information to the public in a timely manner. This could be accomplished by compiling, approving, and uploading fiscal reports in Microsoft Excel or PDF format in appropriate government websites. The essence is to improve fiscal accountability and openness in the governance cycle, thereby putting the country in a better position to be evaluated in those categories in comparison to the rest of the globe.
The Government did not only improve its 2022 performance in publishing PFM documents that were produced, they added a new document which is the Annual Report on Public Enterprises. The backlog report (2014-2018) entails information on the performance of public enterprises and that of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
What has remained unchanged, since 2021, is the fact that: Government is yet to produce and publish up to 18% of PFM documents in the world wide web. In fact, there is a drift in the timely publication of documents when the first half of 2021 was compared to the first half of 2022. Only 14% of PFM documents were published on time in 2022, compare to 25% in 2021, with 86% of the documents published late compare to 75% in 2021. The backlog of 6% documents produced but not published in 2021, has so far been cleared.
Sheila Max McCarthy, who represented the Accountant General during the launch of the scorecard by BAN at the CCSL Conference Hall in Freetown said, the Accountant General’s Department would do its best to improve on their compliance to the PFM Act 2016 and its 2018 regulations. Reasons for the delay in publications, she said, were due to a system upgrade of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) to a web-based version. Adding that they were configuring the systems as well for the redenomination of the Leones and as well a review was of the chart of accounts was done from 27 to 33 digits. These reforms, she said affected the timely publications of the required information.
Deputy Director of the Budget Bureau at the Ministry of Finance, Alpha Osman Kamara, thanked BAN for doing justice to their investigations made a commitment to keep improving their compliance by keeping with the dictates of the Act. He said the Public Financial Management Act is being reviewed to make more effective to improving issues of accountability and transparency in the country.