Monday, October 19, 2009

Morlu discovers financial pitfall in govt.

Morlu discovers financial pitfall in govt.

-LPRC, BMA are nobody’s private investments

“We cannot treat Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), like our investment of 18 percent in Cemenco or our 30 percent in the Mittal Joint Venture. The National Port Authority (NPA), LPRC and Robert International Airport (RIA) etc. are neither Cemenco nor Mittal, says Liberia’s Auditor-General, John Morlu.

“I have not been given any reason why some autonomous entities are in the National Budget while others are outside of the National Budget. Why would the Social Security Administration be outside of the National Budget? They are collecting mandated fees from businesses to pay out later to beneficiaries under various schemes, Morlu averred.

He said in America, at the state and local level, there is a generally accepted accounting principle called GASB 34. Under GASB 34, the states and localities include in their budget the revenue and expenditure of all business type activities like LPRC.

“I am confused while people who claimed to study and work in America would choose a different path for Liberia’s financial governance? Again, I have not seen a convincing legal argument or an accounting argument for which public corporations and autonomous entities cannot be in the National Budget,” Morlu intimated.

“Furthermore, some of our autonomous commissions including the National Investment Commission (NIC), General Services Agency (GSA) and the National Election Commission (NEC) are in the Budget, but others like the Bureau of Maritime Affairs (BMA), Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) are outside of the National Budget,” he revealed.

Morlu said the Liberian government is confusingly difficult to audit primarily due to its overlapping structures created over the years which makes it extremely difficult to assign accountability.

Additionally, he noted, the structure of the Liberian government is further confusing by the division of institutions including, Ministries, public corporations and autonomous agencies as well as autonomous commissions.

In a 38-page speech delivered recently in Gbarnga, Bong County at programs marking the 45th anniversary of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Morlu said the problem will continue to exist until those institutions can be included into the country’s national budget.

“We at the GAC have maintained that all these institutions be included into the National Budget, because their inclusion into the National Budget will give a true reflection of the potential of the economy unless specifically set aside by the National Legislature,” the Auditor-General argued.

Drawing his analysis after the model of the United States, Morlu said for instance, the US has more than 200 public corporations and autonomous commissions, but they are included in the Federal Budget of United States of America.

He said in the very United States in which the government and people of Liberia so subscribe to, included into its Federal Budget, Social Security Administration, Federal Communication Commission, just to name a few, but it is disheartening to note that in Liberia, they are kept outside of the National Budget as if they were private investments.

No comments:

Post a Comment