Finance Ministry Discusses Policy briefs on PFM Reforms and Internal Audit

Ministry of Finance has on Tuesday 22 June 2021 held a day’s Policy Clinic on Public Financial Management Reforms and Internal Audit in the Public Sector with personnel from Ministries Depart and Agencies.

The discussions were guided by two research documents presented by the Research and Delivery and Internal Audit Divisions of the Ministry of Finance. The document assesses the issues of prudent public financial and internal audits as well as proffered recommendations that will inform policy-making decisions.

In his statement, the Senior Deputy Financial Secretary of Ministry of Finance Samuel E.B Momoh informed participants that the ministry has been capacitating MDAs on reforms programs, especially in Public Financial Management, and that the ministry of finance used to have the Government Budgeting and Accountability Act 2005, which has now been replaced by the Public Financial Management Act and its associated regulations of 2016.

He furthered that the findings of the two research documents revealed significant outcomes in which the ministry asked the personnel from MDAs to make their invaluable inputs to help inform decision making. He added that internal audit In government was not performing well because they were not well-organized, stating that this situation has changed with the strengthening of the Internal Audit Directorate in the ministry of finance.

“With the establishment of the research directorate, the research division has collaborated with these key departments on public financial management reform and internal Audit unit to examine the Public Financial Management issues and to provide findings for discussion” he added.

In his presentation, Deputy Director of Research and Delivery Division at Ministry of Finance Alhaji Abu Komeh stated that the ministry is mandated to ensure prudent, effective, and transparent use of public funds.

He furthered that the ministry is guided by principles of transparency and accountability in the budgeting and expenditure processes like formulation and implementation of fiscal policies to achieve macroeconomic stability, provide timely, reliable, and adequate information to the public on fiscal objectives, policies, data, and risks.

Deputy Director Komeh, further discloses that Public Financial Management findings on four thematic areas are Knowledge of the PFM regulatory environment, Implementation of PFM laws and regulations, Effectiveness of PFM oversight structures, and PFM resources, systems, and processes.

He pointed out some significant challenges affecting the effectiveness of the oversight structures of PFM that there are weak coordination and commitment from FRM stakeholders, ineffective monitoring mechanism, and non-implementation of audit recommendations.

In the area of recommendations, Deputy Director Komeh stated that strengthen the Implementation is of activities owned and spearheaded by the thematic technical working group, Ensuring the provision of adequate financial resources to service delivery units, the PFMR division should reinforce its PFM monitoring function and ensure fully functional Audit committees.

Moses B. Bangura, Assistant Director of Internal Audit of Ministry of Finance unearthed profound areas with extensive weakness in Internal Controls in the Public Sector. Which e says is responsible for funds not properly accounted for, periodic reconciliation not done with suppliers, personnel salary increases without appropriate authority, and dates of birth differ between national payroll and Nassit.