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PFMRU holds PFM Act 2016 Sensitization Workshop

  • Thursday, Oct 06 2016

The Public Financial Management Reform Unit (PFMRU) in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development ( MoFED) has on Monday 29th August 2016, held a one day sensitization workshop on the Public Financial Management Act 2016 at the Miatta Conference Centre.

In her opening remarks, the Acting Director PFMRU, Princess Johnson welcomed participants and went on to state the objective of the workshop, which was to sensitize officials of Ministries, Departments and Agencies on the contents and application of the Public Financial Management Act 2016.

She further encouraged all officials in MDAS to familiarize themselves with this Act and implement it contents for improved Financial Management in Sierra Leone.

Delivering his Keynote address Principal Deputy Financial Secretary, Ansu Tucker, noted that the Government Budgeting and Accountability Act ( GBAA) came into being in 2005 ( replacing the Public Budgeting and Accountability Act of 1992) and its resultant Regulations, the Financial Management Regulations ( FMR) in 2007.

He went on to say that these two legislations are the primary financial legislations governing the receipts, disbursements and subsequent accounting for Government Funds.

The PDFS maintained that over the years since the enactment of the GBAA and FMR, the Government of Sierra Leone embarked on a series of reforms in Public Financial Management including the Introduction of an Integrated Financial Management Information System ( IFMIS) which is the tool employed in processing of and accounting for government resources.

He pointed out that since the introduction of a Treasury Single Account, Fiscal Strategy Statement and Management of Extractive Industry Revenue, the need for a detailed re- examination of the GBBA was always inevitable.

Mr Ansu Tucker said it is in view of the foregoing that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development( MoFED), in agreement with Key development partners in public financial management ( DFID, AFDB, EC, IMF and World Bank) considered it important to include Review of the PFM Legal and Regulatory Framework , as one of the Sub- Components within the ongoing financial management reform programme. He concluded by encouraging key PFM agents, to give the process the seriousness it deserves in ensuring that they implement a sound legal framework governing public finances and public financial management generally.

In his welcome address Development Secretary John Sumaila, said, the event is one of a series of discussions and trainings that will be undertaken in a bid to ensure effective implementation of the Public Financial Management Act. He went on to say the PFM Act 2016 was signed in July and it is deemed to come into full operations in January 2017, which also marks the beginning of our financial year .

He pointed out that as key stakeholders in the operations of Government, they all play a critical role in achieving this objectives, noting that Vote Controllers are responsible for prudent, effective, efficient and transparent use of public resources made available to their organizations. The Development Secretary maintained that however the full knowledge and the accompany procedures are critical for all stakeholders.

He said in order to achieve their goal they need the cooperation of all Ministries functionaries notably, Accountants, procurement Officers, Budget Officers, and Internal Auditors among others.

He added that in ensuring effective implementation and full compliance of this Act, key actions are critical to the following areas:

•Preparation of budget proposal, •An effective and efficient system of Financial Management and Internal Controls, •Operate and make commitments under an open, competitive and transparent procurement process and •Safe guard and manage assets and public money under the responsibilities of the entity.

He concluded by stating that they hoped all stakeholders are committed to the provisions of the Act.

Making his presentation on the overview of the PFM Act 2016, the Legal Adviser, MoFED Farid Alghali, stated that MoFED in collaboration with key stakeholders, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) undertook an extensive review of the Government Budgeting and Accountability Act of 2005 ( GBBA 2005) since 2008.

He added that the objective of the review was to improve the legal framework governing public financial management in Sierra Leone. Farid Alghali pointed out that consequently as part of the process, several Missions of the Fiscal Affairs Department ( FAD) of the IMF were fielded into Sierra Leone from April 2013 to May 2014 to undertake a review of progress and to help identify issues in the legal framework along with priorities for reforms to be undertaken.

He informed the participants that the Act was subsequently passed by Parliament in May 2016 and received the Assent of His Excellency, the President a few Months later.

The MoFED Legal Adviser Farid Alghali, outlined the main features of the PFM Act which include the Following: •Broadens the coverage of the former Act beyond the scope of budgeting in central government, in line with International Monetary Fund's Government Finance Statistics Framework ( GFSM 2014). The Act also includes clear definitions of entities included in central government, and the Public sector; •Strengthens the macro- fiscal framework by introducing fiscal responsibility principles and a Fiscal Strategy Statement to guide fiscal planning and the medium - Term budgetary framework ( MTBF); and strengthens budget discipline by introducing firm limits on the amount of additional spending in excess of the approved budget; •Increases the focus on measuring, monitoring, and managing fiscal risks by introducing an annual Fiscal Risk Statement; and •Establishment of a Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Cash Management Committee, •Introduction of cash planning requirements and strengthening of accounting, financial reporting, and auditing by aligning public sector accounting with international standards and broadening the scope for budget documentation and financial reporting etc.

In order to facilitate better understanding of the Act, various presentations were made by other departments within MoFED which include the Budget Bureau and the Accountant General's Department.

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