Curbing Excesses, Rooting Out Graft -CSA Places Cap On Consultancy Purse -Joekai-Led Team Unveils Policy Guidelines

MONROVIA: The Director General of the Civil Service Agency (CSA), Mr. Josiah Joekai, has announced that his administration and by extension Government has placed a cap of US$2 million in public service consultancy regime to, in his words, curb excesses and root out “corruption that plagued the consultancy landscape under the Weah administration”.

“This prudent measure will lead to a cost-saving of US4.1 million, thereby curbing excesses and rooting out corruption that plagued the consultancy landscape under the Weah administration,” the CSA boss said at the official launch of the National Consultancy Policy Guidelines Wednesday.

He said the new leadership of the CSA has embarked on this proactive course of action to address this systemic corruption issue and fortify the government’s institutional capacity, evidenced by the crafting of comprehensive policy guidelines to manage consultancies across the Central Government effectively.

“These policy guidelines were meticulously developed to ensure value for money and stringent performance accountability for consultants hired,” he said. “By instituting this fiscal discipline and accountability mechanism, the government will safeguard public resources and pave the way for genuine progress and development initiatives to flourish.”

Reflecting on the evolution of the National Consultancy Policy Guidelines, Mr. Joekai noted that it was in October 2020 that the Government of Liberia took steps toward enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations by consolidating the oversight of consultancy services under the purview of the Civil Service Agency (CSA).

The strategic move, he said, was aimed at centralizing the management and coordination of consultancy services across various government agencies.

“By doing so, the government sought to streamline the allocation of funds earmarked for consultancy services, ensuring they address critical governmental needs where existing staffing and capacities fall short,” he asserted further.

“The overarching goal was clear: To optimize the utilization of consultancy resources, maximize value for money, and ultimately bolster the government’s objectives. Before this initiative, these resources were frequently misapplied on extending employment contracts that failed to substantially contribute to spending entities’ operational efficiency or effectiveness.”

He however expressed regret that despite these measures, challenges persisted, as some government agencies continued to engage consultants disproportionately, often without adhering to performance standards or transparent guidelines.

According to him the lax approach under the previous administration led to a pervasive misallocation of resources and a blatant disregard for accountability, resulting in the squandering of public funds.

“The repercussions of such negligence were starkly evident in the financial losses incurred by the government,” he alleged.

“Just within the last fiscal year alone, the Government of President George Manneh Weah misapplied a staggering US$6.1 million on so-called consultancy services that yielded negligible, if any, tangible results. In other words, consultancy resources were wasted, misapplied, and unaccounted for.”

Josiah Joekai further said in the newly established policy guidelines framework developed by the CSA, a competitive framework has been instituted to level the playing field for all spending entities seeking consultancy services.

“This framework aimed to eradicate disparities and ensure equal opportunities for entities to address knowledge gaps within their respective domains,” he said. “Moreover, it sets rigorous standards and procedures governing the implementation of consultancies across the Central Government.”

A critical aspect of this framework is the emphasis on accountability and performance evaluation, the CSA indicated. “Consultants or consultancy firms are now required to meet key performance indicators established by contracting entities and overseen by the CSA.”

The CSA Chief thanked President Boakai for his presence at the launch of these policy guidelines, something he said marked a “significant milestone in our journey toward prudent financial management and accountability.

“We express our sincere gratitude for your unwavering support and commitment to advancing our shared vision for progress and development, and we remain steadfast in our resolve to realize the aspirations of the Liberian people.”

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