CSO Launches Covid 19 Transparency And Accountability Project

BudgIT-Liberia in partnership with Follow The Money Liberia, Libpedia, YARD Liberia Inc, Volunteer Hub Liberia and Care for Life on December 14, 2021  launched its Covid-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP)’s Research Report and calls for Collaboration among CSOs to enhance transparency and accountability in covid-19 intervention funds in Liberia at the Cape Hotel, Mamba Point, Monrovia.

According to Mr. Abraham Varney, Country Lead for BudGIT Liberia the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP), is a project that seeks to promote accountability and transparency through the tracking and accounting of all COVID-19 intervention funds in Liberia. He said as of the time of the conduct of this research, Liberia had recorded over 2,042 cases, over 1,899 have recovered and 85 deaths.

“With the aforementioned, it was unfortunate that there were widespread allegations of corruption, mismanagement, and misappropriation of funding given for the fight against COVID-19 in Liberia. The research seeks to assess, investigate, and understand the overall response of the Government of Liberia with respect to her COVID-19 Interventions in the country. It also goes ahead to carefully critique the Government’s response to COVID-19, allocation, disbursement, and expenditure of COVID-19 resources as well as ascertain the various constraints, challenges and obstacles to an effective response to COVID-19 in Liberia”, he said.

He said that the research as a component, supported the overall COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project – CTAP which is to elevate the conversation around ensuring proper accountability and transparency of funding and finances donated to the fight against COVID-19 during this Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). He said while the research was just the first phase of the project, some of the assumptions made from documents obtained and information gathered in the first phase were further validated in the second phase of the research.

Touching on corruption he said it has many different shapes as well as many various effects, both on the economy and the society at large. He stressed that it thus hinders economic growth and affects business operations, employment and investments. It also reduces tax revenue and the effectiveness of government’s service delivery programs. It means that corruption undermines national government efforts

“For these reasons, the national government should actively promote the involvement of non-governmental and community-based organizations, as well as other elements of civil society to raise public awareness of corruption and what can be done about it.

“Based on the complexity of corruption, civil society organizations in the transparency and accountability space need to collaborate on activities that counters corruption such as civic monitoring of corruption through regular publishing of Corruption Perception Indexes, anti-corruption public awareness campaigns, consulting and expertise-sharing, and anti-corruption initiatives. Coalition building among csos is vital if we should end corruption impunity at all levels of our society”, he said.

At the occasion some presentations where made including a video presentation from an international non-governmental organization, Global Integrity, through Madam Yeukai Mukorombindo, Manager of Research and Learning who presented on CTAP Learning Report and highlighted the many challenges and difficulties it has become to track information about funds received from donor institutions to governments in Africa as well as activities being carried out by those who are supported to execute them. She however stated that despite the challenges, Global Integrity and partners have been leading the way to highlight and address issues surrounding the pandemic and the effects it has had on countries and their people.

She said it was paramount for the governments to be transparent and ensure accountability in support of working towards alleviating the suffering of the people. She lamented that corruption remains a major stumbling block to directing funds received from donors by the government to be used towards the cause of fighting the global scourge.

Presentations from some local partners were made at the program and they included, COVID 19 Human Angle Video screening by Libpedia, Country Analysis COVID 19 incidence and resource management in Liberia by Follow The Money, as well as Stimulus Package Tracking Report from Grand Kru County and Tracking one million United States Dollars Stimulus Package for private School Teachers in Margibi County by two local groups.

According to the summary of the project, the outcomes ensured that all contributions made the Government of Liberia to fight against Covid-19 are tracked and monitored, ensured proper accountability of finances from receiving of these finances up to the final expenditure as well as reporting, did an appraisal of certain expenditures that go beyond certain threshold as prescribed by the Public Financial Management Law and the Public procurement Concession Commission laws and procedures and ensured that the Government makes public all expenditures of Covid-19 financing to ensure open accountability and transparency

BudgIT is a foremost civic-tech leading the advocacy for transparency and accountability in public finance across four African countries including Nigeria. Its innovation within the public circle demystifies government data, especially on public finance, by either presenting them in simple tweets, interactive formats or infographic displays. BudgIT works with willing institutions and stakeholders interested in deepening transparency, citizen engagement and capacity building. Hitherto, BudgIT has supported over 135 institutions in Nigeria, launched over six civic-tech products and reached over 20million Nigerians.

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