Supervising Permanent Secretary for Finance, Elizabeth Kausimae pointed this out at an inaugural media workshop on the new PFM Road Map in Honiara yesterday.
She stressed that a robust financial management system will help achieve our collective vision of building a prosperous Solomon Islands as embodied in our National Development Strategy by improving the delivery of public services and raising the quality of government spending.
“Everyone in Government has a role in better managing our scarce financial resources to ensure that we reap the maximum benefit from them. Our revenue is limited so we have to make the most of what we have,” she said.
The workshop was an initiative of the Ministry of Finance to increase public awareness of the financial management reforms that Cabinet had approved and was launched together with the 2015 budget in July this year.
The workshop was attended by representatives of media and certain advocacy agencies in Solomon Islands.
“In developing the Roadmap we have tried to make it our very own. I believe that we have succeeded.
“We had consulted widely and will continue to do so.
“The Roadmap outlines the actions that Government will take in all areas of financial management including revenue generation, budget allocation and expenditure controls,” Ms Kausimae said.
“These measures will help Government avoid fraud, improve procurement practices, eliminate fictitious workers, strengthen expenditure controls and help reduce revenue arrears.
“It will also improve the accountability to the people on how Government uses public funds,” she added.
The supervising permanent secretary added that:
“Government is committed to the implementation of the Roadmap and I am asking all my colleagues across all Ministries to support it as it is for the good of everybody.
“We in the Ministry of Finance had spent the last two weeks exploring ways to effectively implement the Roadmap.
“Our development partners have stressed that improving our financial management is a requirement for the future provision of general budget support to Government.”
Paula Uluinaceva, the Accountant General, explained to the media that the Roadmap was developed through wide consultations in the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, central Ministries and development partners.
The involvement of these agencies has promoted greater ownership of the Roadmap in Government which will help in its implementation.
He also stressed that the implementation of the PFM Roadmap so far has also benefitted from the strong political will of the Government, with the support of Parliament, in advancing legislative and policy reforms.
The implementation of the new Public Financial Management Act has greatly enhanced procurement and the transparency of Government financial reporting, which attested to strong commitment at the political level.
Meanwhile, Ms Kausimae said:
“We have also commenced our consultations with the Permanent Secretaries on improving the financial management in their ministries.
“These consultations will culminate in a half day workshop of Permanent Secretaries on Thursday next week to develop the way forward on implementing the PFM Reform Roadmap.
“This is an important step in realising our objective of a stronger financial management system.
“The support of the Permanent Secretaries is vital in this endeavor.”
Ms Kausimae reminded the workshop that making plans was the easiest part.
“The implementation of the plan is the most difficult part. We clearly realize that many of our plans are not going to be achieved overnight.
“There are many things like our own capacity and skills that will challenge the implementation of the Roadmap.
“We will need to negotiate legal hurdles. We have therefore tried to be realistic and prioritize our actions carefully taking into account what we can do.
“We have given ourselves 3 years to get to where we think we should be.
“I must therefore ask you to understand the challenges that lie ahead of us,” she said.
The deputy Accounting General Merrylyn Kodoleke in outlining the key contents of the Public Financial Management Reform Roadmap said that the four areas of priorities are the implementation of the PFM Act, the continuing development of systems so that they can talk to each other, the improvement in compliance to financial instructions and the involvement the whole of government in building a robust financial management system.
Ben Namo of the Ministry of Finance explained that the Ministry has set up a structure to drive the implantation of the Roadmap.
“The Permanent Secretary of Finance has appointed a PFM Reform Champion to lead this implementation.
“He will chair a PFM Reform Committee of Under Secretaries in MOFT, MDPAC, MPS and PMO to coordinate and monitor progress.
“A PFM Reform Coordinator will assist the Committee. Finally a PFM Reform and Budget Committee will be set up in each Ministry”.
He added that there will be six monthly progress reports on the progress of implementation and there will be an independent review every year.
Ms Kausimae concluded by saying that:
“These reforms are essential to building our future. Everything we do requires funding.
“Therefore, we need to get our PFM system right. There is a lot to do. But we now have a plan to guide us in improving the way we do things.
“By cooperation and everybody playing their rightful roles, I am confident we can achieve our goals for the betterment of Solomon Islands.”