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Ministry of Finance reviews draft fixed assets policy for local councils

Ministry of Finance reviews draft fixed assets policy for local councils

The Public Financial Management Reform Unit [PFMRU] in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development[MoFED], in collaboration with the National Assets and Government’s Properties Commission has on Friday 12th July 2013, reviewed  the  draft fixed Assets Policy for Local Councils at the J&E Resort in Bo. The meeting brought together Chief Administrators and Finance Officers in Local Councils.

The basic goal and objective of this policy is to define and describe a set of standard procedures and policies necessary to record and control the changes in fixed asset system of Local Councils in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. This policy is also geared towards providing guidance on how to deal with capital expenditure and the purchase and disposal of fixed assets and to provide guidance on other aspects of fixed assets accounting such as revelation.

In his declaration of purpose the Director of Public Financial Management Reform Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Augustus Cole, welcomed the participants to the program including the Chairman of the National Assets and Government’s Properties Commission. He stated that over the past years and even in recent times , they have been faced with questions pertaining to fixed asset management in Local Councils regarding what should be done, and noted that there was also doubt with regards to prescribed laws, regulations and policies guiding fixed asset management across Councils. He added that there are similar challenges in the Central Government while noting that the reason why they at  PFMRU decided that it would be best for them to bring them together and try to see how best they can produce something, which can serve as a working document for them. He pointed out that there is no way they can do such without going back to the institution that has been set up to oversee fixed asset across Government management of fixed asset. He informed the participants that they were honored to meet with the Commission earlier in the week which gave them the opportunity to have some insight which they will share with them. Mr Augustus Cole, reiterated that they are gathered to go through the draft policy and stated that they had already informed the Chairman of the National Assets Commission that the draft policy is their baby and that they are the ones that will actually publish it, publicize it, distributes it to the Councils and sensitize stakeholders across Local Council regarding the policy that will eventually be adopted which he said will ultimately be roll out to the Central Government.

In his remarks the Chairman of the National Asset Commission, Alhagi Unisa Alim Sesay, expressed delight to be part of the program and added that his Commission is one of the oldest in the country. He went on to say that the National Asset Commission was established by Act 2 of 1990 and stated that the first chairman of the committee was appointed in January 20 1991 in the person of Mr Vine Nylender. He informed the participants that when he took over he introduced new dimensions, as the Commission was almost dominant as nothing was heard about its existence. He noted that the Commission is an outfit of the Office of the President with a lot of power confound to the Commission with the Act, which came into being after the then President JS Momoh, was frustrated over the way Government properties have been handled over the years. He made it clear that because of the way Government properties were handled, the following legislation which is “Act 2 of 1990”, numerous power and mandate was given to the Commission. He said since the establishment of the Commission only one mandate was made, which involved reduction of the number of members of the Commission from sixteen to five, which he said was done through the recommendation of the World Bank. He pointed out that one major challenge facing the Commission over the years is the area of compliance, which has been lacking due to the fact that Government Institutions always failed to comply. He spoke about the short title of the Acts in order for the participants to actually understand the responsibility of the Assets Committee which reads:

“Being an Act to establish a national assets and Government property Commission and a national registrar to make provision for the control and identification of all national assets and Government property to provide for their maintenance and improvement of such property and to monitor their use and disposal and for connected purposes’.

By Hawanatu Bockari

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