|Performance Report is crucial to Accountability|
As debates over the 2008/2009 draft National Budget became fervid, the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), on July 16, 2008, provided its position statement on the material contents of the document. The statement was contained in an eight-page document which was on July 16 presented to the National Legislature through its Executive Director, Mr. Thomas Doe Nah.
In its position statement, CENTAL advanced several points for consideration by government including the importance of performance reports; aligning resources with priorities to reduce poverty; confusing summaries and unwarranted allocations; more specifics on general claims; adequate legislative oversight of budgetary process; and discretionary allocation.
The central concern of the statement was to ensure that the budget adequately and cogently address the poverty reduction strategy by increasing allocations to key service providing institutions to allow them become effective and efficient.
CENTAL felt these issues needed to be accorded adequate attention before the approval of the consequential document for executive implementation, so as to mesh properly with the poverty reduction strategy.
In conclusion, the statement recommended in one instance that the allocation for overtime to the Finance Ministry and the Bureau of the Budget be reconsidered and reallocated to public primary schools under the Monrovia Consolidated Schools System (MCSS), which have to share US$50,000 among 16 schools.
The position statement also recommended that discretionary allocations such as those provided non-government agencies be removed and set up in an escrow account from which these entities can access fund through proposals in order to ensure increased performance and accountability.
The statement further recommended stronger collaboration between government and civil society in enacting a law that guides the process of performance and accountability report, and also allows the engagement of civil society at the budget formulation stage to observe the preparation process.