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Liberia

Publication of Budget Documents (LR0028)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Liberia Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance

Support Institution(s): World Bank, IMF, Liberia Media Center

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, Audits, Capacity Building, E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Liberia Implementation Report 2017-2019, Liberia Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?: The 2015 Open Budget Survey assessed legislative oversight of the budget process in Liberia as weak, the audit process as weak, and public participation in budgeting as weak.; What is the commitment?: The commitment seeks to open up the budget process for citizen participation. An open budget process is essential if citizens are to understand how public resources are being used and managed.; How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?: The commitment will make public budget information related to the executive budget, the budget speech, and audit reports. This will allow citizens to more fully participate in the budget process. Coupled with oversight by the legislature and audit institutions this will contribute to a more accountable use of public money.; Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?: This commitment is critical in achieving three pillars of budget accountability: budget transparency, public participation, and formal oversight, which are central to the OGP values of transparency and citizen participation.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

IRM End of Term Status Summary

2. Publication of Budget Documents

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

"The commitment seeks to open up the budget process for citizen participation. An open budget process is essential if citizens are to understand how public resources are being used and managed.

The commitment will make public budget information related to the executive budget, the budget speech, and audit reports. This will allow citizens to more fully participate in the budget process. Coupled with oversight by the legislature and audit institutions this will contribute to a more accountable use of public money."

Milestones:

  1. Publication of annual audit reports;
  2. Publication of the pre-budget statement and the year-end report on budget implementation;
  3. Extend coverage of International Financial Management and Information System to an additional 8 ministries & agencies and provide functional/technical support to ensure use and effectiveness;
  4. MOFEP will publish, within 3 months of the end of the quarter, data on quarterly central government expenditures, by Ministry, Department and Agency

Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Liberia's action plan at: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/liberia-action-plan-2017-2019/

IRM Design Report Assessment

IRM Implementation Report Assessment

● Verifiable: Yes

● Relevant: Yes

Access to Information

● Potential impact: Minor

Completion: Limited

Did it Open Government? Marginal

This commitment aimed to open up the budget process through timely online publication of budget statements, audits, and reports. It also proposed to add eight ministries, agencies, and commissions to the International Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS). The IFMIS is a computerized system that aims to improve institutional accounting capabilities and efficiency through automated transactions and reporting. [9] As a result of such disclosure, the government anticipated an increase in community engagement and monitoring in the budget process, as well as in the allotment and expenditure of resources. The government also anticipated that this disclosure would also lead to greater transparency of those receiving funds and trigger audits where needed. Overall, this commitment aspired to leverage transparency to reduce allegations of corruption, [10] and systemic public underfunding of basic services. [11]

At the time of this commitment's formulation, the budget calendar, drafted and approved budgets, quarterly reports on budget execution and revenue collection, and the annual citizen's guide to the budget were available on the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning's (MoFDP) website. However, problems accessing the 2018 version of the MoFDP website inhibited public access to budget documents. [12]

This commitment had limited completion at the end of the implementation period. Annual audit reports are available on the General Auditing Commission's website (Milestone 1). [13] The IRM researcher confirmed that the prebudget statement was distributed and discussed in the legislature. [14] However, prebudget statements were not published online in either 2017 or 2019. [15] The end-of-fiscal-year report was not published online in 2017 but is available for 2019. [16] Therefore, Milestone 2 was partially completed. OGP Working Group minutes state that the ministry published quarterly financial statements for 2017/2018; however, they are not available online (Milestone 4). [17]

According to the MoFDP, the government completed Milestone 3, which aimed to extend the IFMIS to eight ministries and agencies. Now, the Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, Education, Health, Internal Affairs, Justice, Labor, Mines and Energy, Public Works, Youth and Sports and the Liberia Land Authority use IFMIS. IFMIS is also used within the judiciary and the National Security Agency. MoFDP provided technical support to ministries for effective use and management. [18]

This commitment led to marginal changes in government practice. The amount of budget documents publicly available online—and therefore citizens' access to budget information—only slightly improved. Between 2017 and 2019, Liberia's Open Budget Index score saw only a slight increase, from 36 to 38 points out of 100, for budget transparency. [19] The government publishes many budget documents for internal use or makes them available only in hard-copy format. While the national budget, citizen's guide, and budget call circular are available online, [20] budget documents specified in this commitment were not provided on the MoFDP website by the end of the implementation period. Online publication of more budget documents would have increased the commitment's level of completion.

[9] "LR-Public Financial Management—IFMIS," The World Bank, https://projects.worldbank.org/en/projects-operations/project-detail/P109775?lang=en, accessed December 2019.
[10] J. Browne, "IFMIS, MTEF to Aid Corruption Fight," The New Dawn, 15 August 2018, https://thenewdawnliberia.com/ifmis-mtef-to-aid-corruption-fight/, accessed December 2019.
[11] Government of Liberia, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene—Sector Performance Report, May 2018.
[12] Website reviewed by IRM researcher, October 2018: https://mfdp.gov.lr.
[13] "GAC Annual Reports," General Auditing Commission, Republic of Liberia, https://gac.gov.lr/annual-report/.
[14] Hon. Tanneh G. Brunson (Ministry of Budget), email communication with IRM staff, 22 October 2020.
[15] International Budget Partnership, Liberia, Open Budget Survey 2017, https://www.internationalbudget.org/open-budget-survey/country-results/2019/liberia
[16] Ibid.
[17] Document provided to IRM: "Minutes from OGP Working Group," 10 October 2018; and Ministry of Finance, Consolidated Financial Statement: https://mfdp.gov.lr/
[18] Hon. Tanneh G. Brunson (Ministry of Budget), email communication with IRM staff, 22 October 2020.
[19] International Budget Partnership, Liberia, Open Budget Survey 2017, https://www.internationalbudget.org/open-budget-survey/country-results/2019/liberia; and "Open Budget Survey 2019: Liberia," Open Budget Survey, International Budget Partnership, https://www.internationalbudget.org/open-budget-survey/country-results/2019/liberia.

Commitments

  1. Extend capacity and transparency of judicial system

    LR0039, 2020, Access to Justice

  2. Create public beneficial ownership register

    LR0037, 2020, Access to Information

  3. Publish budget information online

    LR0038, 2020, Aid

  4. Promote integrity within institutions and schools

    LR0040, 2020, Anti-Corruption

  5. Increase transparency and inclusivity of public contracts

    LR0041, 2020, Access to Information

  6. Train health professionals and open health data

    LR0042, 2020, Access to Information

  7. Make legislative process more transparent and participatory

    LR0043, 2020, E-Government

  8. Enhance compliance and transparency in tax system

    LR0044, 2020, E-Government

  9. Implement transparent SGBV roadmap

    LR0045, 2020, Access to Information

  10. Increase youth engagement in national policy

    LR0046, 2020, Marginalized Communities

  11. Monitor fulfillment of commitments

    LR0047, 2020, E-Government

  12. Publish latest health data

    LR0048, 2020, Access to Information

  13. Legislative Monitoring Database

    LR0027, 2017, E-Government

  14. Publication of Budget Documents

    LR0028, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  15. Freedom of Information (FOI) Act

    LR0029, 2017, Access to Information

  16. Citizen Monitoring for the Justice System

    LR0030, 2017, Access to Justice

  17. Feedback Mechanism to Build Accountability of the LNP

    LR0031, 2017, Access to Information

  18. Capacity Building for Integrity in Government

    LR0032, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  19. Transparency in the Land Authority

    LR0033, 2017, E-Government

  20. Accountability and Value for Money Through Open Contracting

    LR0034, 2017, Access to Information

  21. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    LR0035, 2017, Access to Information

  22. Open Data/Citizen Navigation Portal

    LR0036, 2017, Access to Information

  23. Starred commitment Commercial Land Use Rights Information

    LR0011, 2015, Capacity Building

  24. Open Aid Portal and Publication of Aid Data

    LR0012, 2015, Access to Information

  25. Link Financial Management System to Aid Management Platform

    LR0013, 2015, Aid

  26. Facilitate Tracking of EVD Funds

    LR0014, 2015, Access to Information

  27. Starred commitment Implementation of the New Jury Law

    LR0015, 2015, Public Participation

  28. Citzen Monitoring of Justice System

    LR0016, 2015,

  29. Civic Education and Citizen Engagement Around Offline Tools

    LR0017, 2015,

  30. Know Your Rights' Initiative

    LR0018, 2015, Justice

  31. Passage of Whistleblower Protection Act

    LR0019, 2015,

  32. Transparency Hubs

    LR0020, 2015, Public Participation

  33. Public Service Integrity

    LR0021, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  34. Citizen Feedback Platform.

    LR0022, 2015, E-Government

  35. e-Government

    LR0023, 2015, Capacity Building

  36. Public Expenditure Management Systems

    LR0024, 2015, Capacity Building

  37. Public Safety/ Law Enforecement Reform

    LR0025, 2015, E-Government

  38. Open Data Portal

    LR0026, 2015, Access to Information

  39. Appoint Public Information Officers (PIOs)

    LR0007, 2015, Capacity Building

  40. Popularize Freedom of Information (Foi) Law

    LR0008, 2015, Access to Information

  41. Expand Open Budget Initiative

    LR0009, 2015, Access to Information

  42. Public Information on Land and Natural Resource Reform

    LR0010, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  43. Increase Access to Public Information

    LR0001, 2013, Access to Information

  44. Open Budget Initiative

    LR0002, 2013, E-Government

  45. Extractive Industries Transparency

    LR0003, 2013, Anti-Corruption

  46. Citizens’ Participation and Dialogue

    LR0004, 2013, Public Participation

  47. Starred commitment Accountability and Integrity

    LR0005, 2013, Anti-Corruption

  48. Technology and Innovation

    LR0006, 2013, Access to Information

Open Government Partnership