Link Financial Management System to Aid Management Platform (LR0013)
Assessment of how AMP and financial and expenditure management systems could be linked Performance Indicators: AMP begins tracking necessary information (e.g. Budget Head Codes from the Chart of Accounts) for future budget integration Alignment of AMP and IFMIS data management plans and data standards Link established between the country’s financial, expenditure and aid management systems
IRM Midterm Status Summary
For Commitment details, see Liberia Progress Report 2015-2017.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
Cluster: Improve Financial Management and Transparency
1.6 Expand Transparency of development assistance in Liberia through open data portal of aid activities including access to raw data in machine readable formats. Encourage development partners to expand their own transparency by publishing timely, comprehensive, and disaggregated data on a quarterly basis in line with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard
Minitry of Finance (MOF), supported by Development Gateway, Publish What You Fund, Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP), 01 July 2015 – 28 February 2016.
· 1.6.1 Ensure public online access to Liberia’s Aid Management Platform and identify ways to improve accessibility, functionality and awareness of the platform.
· 1.6.2 Hold [annual/biannual] development cooperation meetings with donors to assess donor commitments to providing timely and comprehensive data on development assistance to the Government on a [quarterly basis].
· 1.6.3 Work with development partners to improve the availability of data by identifying the gaps of the information available.
· 1.6.4 Work with development partners to make the information accessible to users and develop programs for capacity building
1.7 Strengthen development planning by identifying ways to link Liberia’s Financial Management System with the Aid Management Platform (AMP) to monitor expenditures and plan more predictably over the medium to long term
(MOF, supported by CEMESP, CENTAL, 15 July 2015 – 15 February 2016).
· 1.7.1 Assessment of how AMP and financial and expenditure management systems could be linked.
1.8 Facilitate tracking of EVD [Note30: EVD is the acronym for Ebola Virus Disease. funds.
(MOH, Liberia Ebola Financial Tracking Group, LACC, with support from iLab, Accountability Lab, 15 August 2015- 30 June 2016).
· 1.8.1 Track financial resources spent and map financial resources committed or allocated from government and partners, including the private sector
· 1.8.2 Disseminate data and reports on Government websites, including the yet to be established Open Data Portal.
The transparent and open management of aid flows into Liberia presents a major challenge to governance. Liberia remains highly dependent on aid for delivering public services, but the majority of Liberia’s foreign aid is “off budget”, which means that donated funds go directly to NGOs and foreign contractors to implement development projects. Data from a 2015-2016 Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) report on external resources and debt management indicate that the government of Liberia’s approved budget FY 2015/2016 accounted for US$622 million, when compared to aid projections of US$899 million ( more than 30 percent greater than the national budget).[Note31: Liberia National Concession Portal, goo.gl/QsDpPS These commitments seek to improve aid transparency so that the Liberian government can strengthen its financial system, better assess how to allocate domestic revenue and determine whether aid donations are being used effectively.
Commitment 1.6 The commitment seeks to ensure public online access to Liberia’s Aid Management Platform and identify ways to improve accessibility, functionality and awareness of the platform. Prior to the commitment period, such information was only available to international development partners, and sometimes to the Liberian government.
Commitment 1.7 gauges how the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) could be linked to the Aid Management Platform. This could lead to better coordination and accountability in how monetary resources are spent on development projects.
Commitment 1.8 The commitment seeks to track financial resources spent and map financial resources committed or allocated from government and partners, including the private sector. It also intends to disseminate data and reports on government websites, including the Open Data Portal Management System.
Commitment 1.6: Substantial
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) and international partners built the aid management platform, which displays information on project locations, disbursed amounts, donor agencies, and sectors where aid is being provided. In June 2016, Development Gateway helped the Government Aid Management and Coordination Unit train staff on how to populate the platform.[Note32: Development Gateway, https://www.developmentgateway.org/reach] Although data is steadily being added, the platform has not been publicized and is still under construction. To increase the usability of the platform, a permanent URL needs to be assigned and the website promoted to ensure wider uptake. For more information, please see the 2015–2016 IRM midterm report.
Commitment 1.7: Limited
The Aid Management Coordination Unit and international partners conducted a technical assessment to determine how data modelling in IFMIS could be transferred to the Aid Management Platform. This was a preparatory step, conducted internally without any public facing activity. The process has since stalled due to technical and financial challenges.
Commitment 1.8: Substantial
To make Ebola eradication spending transparent, the Ministry of Health (MOH) committed to publishing disaggregated information on the affected areas and the amount of funds disbursed for fighting the disease. The Ebola crisis in 2013 revealed a minimal capacity for detailed reporting on how foreign health aid is distributed. Beginning in 2015, the ministry began providing more detailed information, in addition to aggregate reports on health donations. For more information, please see the 2015–2016 IRM midterm report.
Commitment 1.6: Limited
The self-assessment reports indicated this commitment as completed. However, the initial link (http://18.104.22.168/portal), which was accessible during the midterm report, cannot be accessed presently, and neither can the open data portal be accessed via the Development Gateway website (http://www.developmentgateway.org/programs/aid-management-program.html). According to Jonathan Williams, OGP Point of Contact Liberia, the government is seeking ways to improve the functionality and accessibility of the Aid Management Platform to ensure transparency of development assistance.[Note33: Jonathan Williams (OGP Point of Contact of Liberia), interview by IRM researcher, November 2017.
Apart from the platform, Publish What You Fund has published Liberia’s IATI registry dataset (https://iatiregistry.org/dataset/afdb-liberia).[Note34: “Publish What You Fund tracker”, http://tracker.publishwhatyoufund.org/publish/packages/afdb-liberia/ National Open Budget Initiative has also published the Citizen’s Guide, which allows the public free and easy access every year to government financial information.[Note35: “Citizen’s Guide to the National Budget: Republica of Liberia”, https://bit.ly/2pZbF5b, 31 March 2018. The book, which is divided into five sections, defines what the budget is and how it is produced, explains where the money will come from, how government plans to spend the money it will collect, how citizens can find out more and get involved in the budget process and how much each county will get, who will provide how much, and what are the important things the money will be spent on in each county.] The official development assistance section provides information on all the foreign money that will come to the country, whether on-budget (grant/ gift and loans) or off-budget (donors’ money to be used by NGOs working in Liberia or through government agencies).
Pursuant to the principles of the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA), and Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the new framework -Aid Coordination and Management Unit of the MFDP- identifies best practices in Aid Management and Coordination, establishes effective policies and procedures for the management of donor funding, increases the coherence of aid negotiation, mobilization and coordination. The framework is necessary for an effective aid flow and maintains a full database of aid flows.
Commitment 1.7: Limited
The proposal to link IFMIS and the Aid Management Platform to create a one-stop shop for citizens to access financial information has not been completed. Liberia’s self-assessment report indicates the IFMIS system was hacked.[Note36: Liberia Self-Assessment report 2015-2017.] This stalled the process of interfacing both systems. After this incident, upgrading and interfacing of the platform with IFMIS was delayed due to limited funding.
Commitment 1.8: Limited
The self-assessment report indicates this commitment as completed. Although Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) tracking information was published online in annual government reports by the MOH and MFDP, the information is still not accessible in an open portal. Therefore, the implementation of this commitment is limited.
Did It Open Government?
Access to Information: Did Not Change
The commitment aim was to ensure public online access to Liberia’s Aid Management Platform and identify ways to improve accessibility, functionality and awareness of the platform. However, to date, even though the website has been developed, it is difficult for citizens or CSOs to find it, since it does not yet have a permanent URL and has been inaccessible most of the time. With such technical progress and ongoing data integration, the IRM researcher considers that the government did not improve the quality of information disclosed to the public. Moreover, although there have been efforts from CSOs to improve capacity building regarding the public budget in Liberia, government practice regarding citizens’ access to aid data remains limited.
Did Not Change
Even though the Liberia Aid Management Platform has been developed, the platform has not been published online yet and has not been linked to the Financial and Expenditure Management System. The platform has not enhanced coordination and accountability on monetary resources spent on development projects. Therefore, the status quo of government practice has not changed.
Access to Information: Did Not Change
Although more information on financial reports has been disclosed, there is no clear evidence that the new data has been disseminated on the Open Data Portal Management System and that it is easily accessible to the majority of citizens. Moreover, due to its limited level of implementation, the commitment has not helped to improve aid transparency and government tracking of aid flows.
Commitment 1.6 and 1.7 are carried forward into the next action plan (Commitment 2) and will include the publishing of annual audit reports and pre-budget statements, and the year-end report on budget implementation. The commitment also aims to extend the coverage of the Integrated Financial Management Information System.