Posted by Bernard Jappah
The Liberian civil wars, which lasted for most of the 14 years from 1989 to 2003, destroyed much of the country’s public and private infrastructure, as well as its human capital. Most people tend to forget or play down the fact that the public finance system – essential for the effective planning and execution of the budget, as well as the efficient management of cash, public debt and overseas development assistance - had also collapsed. The advent of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf administration, in 2006, provided a signal for positive change.
Challenges were in abundance, with financial management and economic governance taking center-stage. The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (formerly the Ministry of Finance) was challenged to develop and apply a mix of policy measures to rebuild the confidence of partners, create an enabling business environment, reduce the debt burden, and restore the faith of the citizens.
With support from the IMF, and the strong leadership of Antoinette Sayeh, the then Minister of Finance, a Public Finance Management (PFM) law was enacted in 2009, while the country achieved HIPC completion status in 2010. There was buzz throughout Monrovia that good things were on the horizon. It became necessary to work on mainstreaming the new law within the country’s governance architecture.