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Sierra Leone News: Fiscal Management and Control Act 2017 passed by Parliament

Members of Parliament, yesterday, unanimously passed into law the Fiscal Management and Control Act 2017, which will now await assent from the President.
According to the Deputy Finance Minister, Momoh Vandy, the Act will provide directions for government MDAs to transfer revenues and all other monies received by the MDAs into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
According to him, Clause 3 has to do with the transfer of funds into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), which means all monies held in the accounts of MDAs shall be transferred into one main account – the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Honourable Hassan Sheriff said, the Act has been on the shelf in Parliament for over five months. Finally, it’s presented for ratification. This is welcome news.
He said the Minister identified six government agencies that carry funds to the CRF. These agencies have been running their own affairs for months. “These agencies will have to give up funds in their bank accounts. They will also have to prepare financial reports at the end of the year.
“These Agencies also have employees benefit accounts which they have to pay at the end of the services of these Employees,” he said, explaining that “now I hope consideration will be given to these specific account been set up by these Agencies for their staff benefit.”
According to MP Sheriff, the efficient and effective management of all these accounts by the Finance Ministry will be a problem. He said, “Appropriate structures need to be put in place.”
MP Foday Rado Yokie reminded the House about his extensive lectures on fiscal indiscipline. “The only way we can close those loop holes is to have a single treasury account which this Bill is talking about.”
“This is a way of mitigating our excessive expenditure that we cannot track,” he said. All monies can be accounted for from a point where Ministries will have to request for their expenses from the government which will ensure accountability.
He continued, “The country’s major challenge is fiscal indiscipline. This Bill is straight forward, precise and very helpful for revenue generation.” “The Environmental Protection Agency,” he cited, “is vital but no one can explain how much money they have generated neither expensed.”
He disclosed they do not want to see a situation where some MDAs are more powerful than others but a scenario where the Finance Ministry can handle all government funds in one account.
The Acting Minority Leader, Hon Sidi Tunis, called on the Finance Ministry to ensure they put in place structures to ensure effective control of monies collected in the single account.
The Majority Leader, MP Leonard Fofanah, disclosed MDA’s are not collecting monies for their personal use but for the government, disclosing that the need for the operation of an emergency account for any disaster or outbreak is vital.
By Alhaji M. Kamara
Wednesday October 11, 2017.

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