Progress Made in Sierra Leone's Joint Financial Management Assessment (FMA)
At the request of the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL), a team of financial management experts from the GAVI Alliance, Global Fund and World Bank recently carried out a full financial management (FM) assessment of the country’s...
At the request of the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL), a team of financial management experts from the GAVI Alliance, Global Fund and World Bank recently carried out a full financial management (FM) assessment of the country’s health sector. The assessment was supported by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) in Sierra Leone with facilitation from WHO and full participation of a national counterpart team (NCT),
Previously, FM assessments were carried out separately by each development partner (DP), resulting in a duplication of effort and an extra burden on both DPs and country partners. This exercise is part of the first batch of joint financial management assessments (FMAs), which were proposed in November 2011 with the aim of achieving greater alignment and harmonization among DPs.
Sierra Leone’s joint FMA was completed in July 2012. The final report from the assessment includes: (a) practical recommendations for DP alignment with government systems (where systems and processes are acceptable or nearly acceptable) with a description of a common financial management framework. Where alignment is not feasible, it makes recommendations for harmonization among the DPs towards the use of comment arrangements and tools; (b) a model of a single financial management report to be produced by a government-established single accounting and reporting system; and (c) a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for joint fiduciary arrangements (commonly referred to as JFA) for the consideration and completion by active donors and the GoSL.
The NCT subsequently translated the assessment's recommendations into a national action plan. The action plan needs to be implemented by the GoSL in order to establish a common "program financial management and administration unit." This will allow for alignment of internal controls, internal audits, budget execution processes, and accounting and reporting mechanisms for the government and all external financiers of the government strategic health sector plan. Given the general level of financial management capacity in Sierra Leone, implementation of this action plan will require support from DPs.
IHP+ is awaiting the authorization of the GoSL in order to publish the final report and its annexes on the IHP+ website. The potential benefits of conducting FMAs jointly, in addition to other lessons learned from this exercise, are currently under review. Interviews with different actors from both DPs and the GoSL are planned in order to supplement this effort. In the next issue of our newsletter, the lessons learned from the exercise will be shared with readers.
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