Forestry Development Authority

With USAID GEMAP assistance, financial management systems were instituted and staff were trained to enable the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) to manage its financial resources effectively. USAID, GEMAP counterparts, and the FDA Board of Directors all attested to the ability of the institution to manage its finances responsibly and effectively. FDA became the first GEMAP-assisted institution where the co-signatory authority of the GEMAP Financial Controller was terminated on June 30, 2009.

At the time of the termination of the co-signatory authority of the GEMAP Financial Controller, financial reporting at FDA was frequent, regular, timely, accurate, detailed, and analytical. Procedural controls have been instituted in all areas of financial operations—procurement, disbursements, payroll, asset acquisition and disposal, allocation of concessions, and billing and collections of timber revenues. The chain-of-custody contract is in operation. The internal audit function has been activated. The institution is led by a highly active Board of Directors.

A formal ceremony was held in August 2009 to mark the graduation of FDA from GEMAP, with press present. Legislators, FDA management, FDA Board members, USAID Mission Director, and the GEMAP Technical Team Co-chair made remarks marking the achievements of the FDA in financial management. The GEMAP Model received praise from Government of Liberia representatives for having instituted systems to ensure responsible management of public revenues, FDA a case in point. The Managing Director of FDA emphasized that the GEMAP Controller at the FDA had over the three years built a system of economic governance which promoted accountability, responsibility, and transparency. The speakers acknowledged the leadership of the FDA management, the FDA Finance Manager in particular, in working together with GEMAP to bring the institution to a point where full responsibility for managing the institution’s finances could once again be owned by Liberian counterparts.

Achievements and Impact at FDA

  • Procedural controls have been instituted in all areas of financial operations—procurement, disbursements, payroll, asset acquisition and disposal, allocation of concessions, and billing and collections of timber revenues.

  • Introduced procurement procedures consistent with PPCA and trained staff.

  • Financial reporting is frequent, regular, timely, accurate, detailed, and analytical. Monthly reports have been generated each month since April 2007. They are shared with management and the Board and form the basis for recommended improvements in operations.

  • Installed an automated financial management system and trained staff. 

  • Assessed risks in the design of the chain-of-custody program and designed controls that were built into the contract with the vendor. 

  • Established protections against unqualified logging companies obtaining logging concessions.

  • Detected irregularities in several proposed concessions that could have cost Government of Liberia several tens of millions of dollars.

  • Conducted due diligence on logging companies and arranged outsourcing of due diligence to independent professional firm.

  • Instituted direct deposit payroll, which allows all staff to be paid promptly. Before, when payments had to be made in remote areas, some payments were delayed as much as six months.

  • Conducted extensive training and developed procedures manuals on internal audit.

  • A first among the GEMAP-supported institutions, co-signatory authority of the GEMAP Financial Controller was terminated in May 2009 following a positive assessment of the institution’s financial management capacity.

Please see the relevant reports and documents in the Library for more information on GEMAP assistance activities at the Forestry Development Authority.