‘Only 53% of government financial information disclosed’

September 3, 2021

According to a scorecard on Selected Mandatory Information Disclosure presented to newsmen by the Budget Advocacy Network (BAN), government has only disclosed 53% of mandatory information for the 2020/2021 fiscal year.

The scorecard was launched yesterday, September 2nd, 2021, at the Harry Yansanneh Memoria Hall, Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) headquarters, in Freetown.

Giving a brief background of Budget Advocacy Network, Abubakar Tarawally said BAN is a network of civil society organisations in Sierra Leone committed to working on budget policies, to enhance policy making and implementation for sustainable and equitable development.

BAN consists of local and international organisations such as the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD) and many more.

The report, he said was courtesy of the 2016 Public Financial Management Act and its regulations which gives provisions for mandatory disclosure of fiscal information.

He said BAN’s key area of interest to follow with the relevant ministries in government for the first six months in 2020 include document produced and published, document produced but not published, and document not produced at all, noting that the second aspect of the report looked at whether document/information produced were published on time as stated in the 2016 PMF Act and it 2018 regulations.

“The scorecard is designed to remind the government of her obligations as per the 2016 PMF Act and its regulations to publish certain information on their website,” he stated.

Speaking on behalf the Christian AID which funds BAN, Senior programme Officer, Chinsia Pascho-George, thanked BAN on behalf and noted that BAN has met their expectations by fulfilling most of the objectives set by Christian Aid.

The Christian Aid representative also noted that BAN has so far succeeded in influencing the reading of monthly budget of the public, advocating for health budget, the military, the Sierra Leone Correctional Centre, the Sierra Leone Police, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social welfare and more.

Deputy Director of budget, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Ilara Mahdi, said the ministry  was well pleased with the work of the Budget Advocacy Network so far.

She said the scorecard would be helpful for the overview of the ministry of finance and it would help keep them on their toes in order to achieve transparency and accountability.

According to the scorecard, areas in which government failed in its mandate to produce and publish mandatory information to the public include, annual financial statements by entities in the general government, fiscal information of local councils, semi-annual report on executive industries revenue and the name list for failure to submit monthly/quarterly/annual/ financial reporting.

Government, however, fulfils its mandate by publishing of mandatory information on the fiscal strategy statement including the state budget proposal, audit report, annual financial statement of the year and more.

The report also captured areas where the government produced but did not publish mandatory information, which include, annual report of public enterprises by vault controllers, management of the executive industries revenue report and more.

In a nutshell, the Budget Advocacy Network (BAN) scorecard states that only 53% of mandatory information were produced and published and 23% were not published at all, and that 24% were produced but not published.

The second aspect of the scorecard disclose that many reports were which were published late,whiles few were published on time and others not published at all.