Ministry of Finance

Three years of GEMAP assistance to the Ministry of Finance has made the budget process faster and more accurate, and has brought spending in line with laws and according to plan. Budget allocation time – the time needed to approve funding levels for each ministry/agency – has decreased from several weeks to a few days, and the allocation process is now more analytical, transparent, and is based on delivery of services to the people. Ministries receive funds faster, with allotment processing times – the time needed to disburse funds to ministries/agencies - reduced from weeks to a few days. Enhanced execution and monitoring guidelines in line with the Public Financial Management Act have reduced discretionary spending.

Automation of the National Budget preparation process cut National Budget data and information consolidation time from weeks to a few days, enabling fast, accurate analyses to inform allocation decisions. Public process has been followed where ministries and agencies commit their budget requests to the delivery of goods and services to the people. The Draft National Budget has been submitted to the Office of the President, on time, three years in a row.

USAID GEMAP technical assistance to the National Budgeting processes started in 2006, with the appointment of a Budget Advisor to the Bureau of the Budget by IBI International, the implementing partner for USAID’s contribution to GEMAP. In late 2008, the Bureau of the Budget was merged with the Ministry of Finance, and its name changed to Department of the Budget (DOB). In 2009, based on a request from the Minister of Finance, USAID GEMAP started providing technical assistance to the Department of Revenue and the Department of Expenditure and Debt Management, in addition to ongoing reform efforts at the Department of Budget.

Achievements and Impact

  • The budget was submitted to the Legislature on time for two years in a row, the first time this has been accomplished in recent memory. A budget preparation calendar was instituted for all budget organizations to follow and to meet deadlines.
  • Detailed Budget Guidelines assist all budget organization in preparing their budget requests. The Guidelines include Budget Preparation Forms (BP Forms) which standardize responses. The BP Forms evolved from hard copies to electronic submissions, and now include asset information concerning vehicles, IT equipment, and generator inventories.

  • Allocations no longer exceed appropriations because the amounts are continuously monitored by using standardized allocation forms and procedures.

  • New regulations were passed eliminating discretion in allocation decisions and requiring notifications to the Legislature.

  • Executive Orders to guide foreign and domestic travel expenses were issued. Forms and instructions to process all expense claims were designed and practice was put into operation.

  • In budget hearings, ministries and agencies now justify their requests on the basis of the goods and services that will be delivered to the Liberian people.

  • Improved budget preparation processes oblige all ministries and agencies to align their programs to the Government of Liberia growth and poverty reduction strategies, to clarify their own goals, to anticipate results and achievements, to cost budget requests appropriately, and to align their spending more with their planned budgets. 

  • Over 300 people from 40 ministries and agencies were trained in standardized performance-based budget process systems. These trainings resulted in efficiency gains that significantly reduced the Department of Budget’s burden in assessing the budgets submitted.

  • National Budget consolidation and analysis for the 2009-10 fiscal year proposed budget was performed for the first time using the automated Liberia Expenditure Control and Accounting Program (LECAP) system, reducing the time taken to produce accurate, up-to-date budget analyses from days to a few hours.

  • The Draft National Budget Book for the 2009-10 fiscal year was consolidated and produced using the automated system within three days, compared to the previous process which took up to one month. 

  • In order to support the National Budget automation process, USAID GEMAP procured and installed IT equipment to modernize the Department of Budget ICT infrastructure.

  • At the Department of Expenditure and Debt Management, the introduction of improved internal controls, automated systems, and staff capacity building eliminated chronic fraud and misuse that resulted in millions of dollars in losses for the Government every year.

  • At the Department of Revenue, the analytical reporting capacity of the automated revenue accounting system was enhanced with GEMAP assistance, enabling more accurate and frequent access to revenue information for the Government.

Please see the relevant reports and documents in the Library for more information on GEMAP assistance activities at the Ministry of Finance.