IMF Technical Assistance: Positive Impact on the Ground
Posted by Camille Karamaga
Country leadership has been essential to the past and on-going success in implementing public financial management reforms in Liberia. But the IMF technical assistance seems to have played an important role, as acknowledged by the Liberian authorities in a video featured on the IMF external web.
Well coordinated assistance has been, and continues to be, provided by the IMF Fiscal Affairs department (FAD) and other development partners. FAD’s assistance, which is currently funded by the Swedish Development Agency (Sida) and the EU, relies on a resident advisor who provides intensive on-the-job capacity building and day-to-day guidance to support the ownership and sustainability of the reforms, in addition to regional activities funded by the Japanese government and routine visit from headquarters staff.
One of the lynchpins of the ongoing economic governance reforms has been the passage in 2009 of a new public financial management law, which along with its associated financial regulations, has re-established the legal basis for public financial transactions in Liberia, as portrayed in a recent blog post. As Minister Augustine Ngafuan stresses in the video, since 2007 FAD has assisted the authorities in designing and putting in place a modern legislative framework that will help Liberia manage its public finances for years to come.
Perhaps the most tangible results, and a testimony that reforms have begun to reach far beyond Monrovia and its immediate surroundings, is the implementation of direct payment of salaries to teachers and health workers, among others, posted in remote areas through bank accounts, thus no longer requiring time-consuming journeys to the county headquarter or to Monrovia—journeys that can take up to a week in the rainy season. Now the teachers can spend more time in the classroom, which will have far-reaching long-term benefits for the next generation.
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