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Finance ministry holds seminar for local councils

Finance ministry holds seminar for local councils

Bo, July 15 (SLENA) – The Public Financial Management Reform Unit (PFMRU) in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) has started a two day seminar on the quality and timeliness of in- year report for devolved sector heads and finance officers of Local Councils at the J&E Resort in Bo.

According to Report in 2012, PFMRU in collaboration with key stakeholders including Audit Service Sierra Leone introduced the International Public Sector Accounting Standard (IPSAS), a cash basis reporting to all councils for the production of financial statement.

However, there was additional disclosure which has been provided to support the information presented. IPSAS report now produced directly software aided by a crystal report writer tool. It is therefore imperative for devolved heads and sector finance officers to have knowledge in some of the reports that are being produced from the Petra and to be able to ask for the appropriate report from the council’s finance officers.

However, large funds are being transferred from the central government to Local Councils as tied grants for devolved sectors, notably health, education and agriculture. Therefore, it is also imperative that good financial management is adopted in the management of this fund. The Public Financial Management Reform Unit (PFMRU}) undertakes to build the financial management capacity for not only the finance staffs of the Local Councils, but also devolved functions of District Directors/ District medical Directors and sector finance officers.

Quality and timeliness of annual financial statement in local councils was identified in the draft 2012 PEFA assessment as key to strengthening of the PFM systems of Local Councils. Funds for devolved functions make the bulk amount of local councils transfer from the central Government.

The objectives of the seminar are:

  • Local Council officials to have detailed understanding of Petra financial report
  • Understanding of some of the reports generated from Petra financials
  • Clear distinction in understanding the two main methods of preparing financial statements
  • Detailed understanding of the various enerated from IPSAS cash basis
  • Detailed Understanding of the difference between concept notes & requests
  • Detailed understanding of report writing for training activities
  • Detailed understanding in an analyzing LCs budget
  • Detailed understanding in preparing annual progress report
  • Discussion on the challenges in accounting for DSDP activities, etc

In his declaration of purpose, an Economist in the Local Government Finance Department {LGFD} at MoFED,  Sallieu Kamara, started by welcoming the participants on behalf of the Director of PFMRU.

He said during the course of the seminar they would be discussing about reports, noting that generally whatever activity undertaken by the Ministry of Finance is geared towards improving delivery of services.

He maintained that reports also have a lead to service delivery base on the fact that whenever report is done, it’s has a relative impact on service delivery. He said report also reduces on their chance to have non resources to improve on service delivery.

Sallieu Kamara said it is not a secret that resources are scares everywhere as a country, stressing that proper utilization is key.

He stated categorically that decentralization is a process but seems to be slow in achieving the prime objectives for decentralization. He further noted that they are still faced with challenges in the area of reporting.

The Economist at MoFED added said that if the Councils always failed to report on activities undertaken, it means that government will not be able to assess what they have done and would not know if they were able to meet their objectives as a country, as a council and as a nation. He said in light of this they will not be in position to tell their subordinates or the people what they have been doing as well as donors who are providing the funds on how these funds are utilized.

He informed the participants that they intend to graduate from having their Database in excel format to an access base format which according to him provides more security compared to the excel format.

He concluded by giving them a rundown of topics to be covered during the two days seminar.

By Hawanatu Bockari

Credit SLENA

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