Liberia: Limited Funding an Obstacle to GAC's 'Financial Independence'

-- Auditor General Says

The Auditor General of Liberia, Yusador Gaye, says while the General Auditing Commission (GAC) is progressing in meeting up with criteria to put the integrity institution on par with others around the world, the issue of total financial independence remains a stumbling block.

Besides being employees in the public sector that workers of the GAC are entitled to salaries and other benefits, Mrs. Gaye, on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 told journalists at a press briefing in Monrovia that money is needed for other operational activities, including Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) for people sent out for operations, petroleum products for vehicles and generators, and other necessities to the GAC, but budgetary allotment to adequately address these necessities remains challenging.

"We have a legal framework that allows the Legislature to allot budget for us and pass it onto the Ministry of Finance to be made available to us, but perhaps the economy is not big and, because of this, we have to drop some of what we need to do when there is inadequate funding," Mrs. Gaye said.

Although she did not state what is in the national envelop for the GAC, she said all other things remain functional and progressive despite the financial challenge.

Mrs. Gaye, accompanied by some of her officials at the press conference, said that rating for the integrity institution by the African Organization of English-speaking Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI-Es), has put Liberia at 2.9 level of ascendancy in meeting those essential qualities required of auditing agencies on the African continent.

She said this rating is from 1 to 5, and there is no country on the African continent yet to reach 4 or 5. Countries, she said, which might be in the range of 3.5 to 3.9 are South Africa, Rwanda and some other fast developing countries in east and southern Africa.

She said the GAC aspires to hit a 3.7 mark after AFROSAI-E's capacity assessment and evaluation of the GAC, especially since the recent stakeholders' engagements.

The GAC, Mrs. Gaye said noted, has "five Domains to meet in full in order to reach a mark from where it is to where it aspires to go."

She named those domains as independent and legal framework, organization and management, human resources, audit standards and methodology, and communication and stakeholder management.

Among these activities, Mrs. Gaye said that engagement with the media to disseminate information about its activities is ongoing, pointing out that communicating what the GAC does is essential, because the public needs to know "since the institution is meant for the good of the public."

Against this backdrop, the GAC has, in recent days, held two successive workshops for journalists to acquaint them with the workings of the institution in order to know when and what to report.

She lauded the European Union for being instrumental in supporting the GAC to carry out its consultative meetings with stakeholders, including the media.

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