By Hawanatu Bockari
(MOFED Press Officer)
The Budget Bureau Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) has paid a monitoring visit to the District Budget Oversight Committee in Kenema.
The purpose of the visit, according to the Senior Budget Management Officer, Abdul Rahman Conteh, at MOFED, was to get first hand information from the District Budget Oversight Committee about what has been going on as well as to see how they have been collaborating with other institutions, their challenges as well as their prospect and to know the way forward. He added that like other visits which they normally paid, they decided to select Bo and Kenema based on the fact that it has taken some time now since their last visit for them to acquaint with each other and share ideas in terms of how the budget process is going on with regards the kind of projects that they were implementing and other activities monitored.
In her remarks, Senior Budget Officer at MOFED, Lauratu Johnson, started by thanking the District Budget Oversight Committee for their time and patience. She described the committee members as important personalities in the Budget process as they have been doing great job over the years. She noted that their presence during the budget discussions has been felt. She added that they were in Kenema to give an overview of the budget process as 2012 was election year and they were trying very hard to present the budget before November. She informed her audience that the Budget call circular has been sent out to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies for them to send in their budgets. She pointed out that they would start to compile the budget in August and prepare it for the Minister to read it in Parliament. She made it clear that the District Budget Oversight Committee would be involved in the Budget discussions during which they would play a vital role. She encouraged them to continue to participate in the Budget Process.
Responding, the Chairman of the District Budget Oversight Committee, Philip Bob Lebby, expressed appreciation to the officials of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for their visit as it has taken some time for them to visit. He welcomed the idea of the MOFED officials for them to acquaint with each other and share ideas regarding the budget process. He confirmed that they have good knowledge about the issues but however expressed concern that people were not transparent when implementing projects. He expressed dismay over the way and manner some contractors were carrying out their duties even though they have received full payment. He further explained that the Local Councils were not presenting their budgets as expected. According to him, they were more focused on the Ward Committee Members leaving them out of the entire process.
Senior Budget Management Officer, Abdul Rahman Conteh, made a presentation of the Citizen’s Budget and the Revised MTEF Guidelines.