MONROVIA: The Government of Liberia, apparently learning from its past where there were challenges in meeting benchmark grades from foreign governments and its development partners may have started turning a new leaf going by the latest transparency report released by Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs of the United States Department of State which showed that the government of Liberia made significant progress in making its executive budget proposal publicly available within a reasonable period.
In a government –by-government assessments which survey a number of countries in the world, the report made specific reference to the public information on the debt of major state-owned enterprise as well as availability of basic information on natural extraction awards. The report also said information on debt obligations was widely and easily accessible to the public, including online.
While the report praised the government for the improvement in the some areas of public finance, it however, highlighted other areas of concern that did not make much mark and made some proposals to the government which according the report could put Liberia in a better standing with transparency.
“The government did not make its enacted budget or end-of-year report publicly available within a reasonable period. The government maintained off-budget accounts not subject to audit or oversight. The supreme audit institution did not meet international standards of independence and did not make its audit reports publicly available within a reasonable period. The government specified in law or regulation and appeared to follow in practice the criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction contracts and licenses, but there are reports of corruption and inconsistent application of regulations in practice”, the report said.
In its proposal to the government to correct some of the challenges, the report said among other things, the government should make the enacted budget and end of year report publicly available within a reasonable period, eliminate off-budget accounts or subjecting them to adequate oversight and audit and eliminate off-budget accounts or subjecting them to adequate oversight and audit
Others are ensuring the supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence, making supreme audit institution audit reports publicly available within a reasonable period and ensuring the laws or regulations for awarding natural resource extraction contracts and licenses are followed in practice.