How the M& E System will directly support better resource allocation and the achievement of program goals
It is amazing how Liberia has been listed as one of the poorest economies in the world. With a country blessed with so many natural resources, Liberia should be one of the fastest growing economies of our time. Global Security watch classifies Liberia as “a rather strange place”. This is because Liberia should not be a poor country, but it certainly is. According to Global Security, Liberia’s per capita income was equivalent to that of Japan in the 1970s. Today, we are now ranked by the World Bank among the very poorest countries in the entire world! The question that comes to mind is, “ what went wrong?”. Can this be ascribed to years of mismanagement of our resources, corruption and most importantly, a failed or dormant monitoring and evaluation system?
Since the ascension of Madam Sirleaf’s government into power, efforts have been made to create and build upon systems that will promote good governance, the rule of law, and economic viability. One of such highly successful tools was the Poverty Reduction Strategy which has been classified as largely successful. Another tool that the Government is set to launch is the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. In order to build an effective monitoring and evaluation system, we need not reinvent the wheels. We simply need to get the old cart rolling again. Denotatively put, we need to merge our M&E plans with government’s existing tools and make them more effective, efficient and measurable. For example, having a good monitoring and evaluation system in place from the economy point of view will mean directly supporting the last three pillars of the PRS. Economic Revitalization in Liberia’s case implies an attempt to stabilize our economy and bring us to a point where there is full equilibrium of all our natural and human resources. By closely monitoring and evaluating the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning’s goals through the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, we will help the Ministry better clarify the Government of Liberia’s procedures on how it plans to allocate resources efficiently for the greater good of its citizens taking into consideration its costs and potential outcomes of its decisions and thus enabling it to base every decision it makes on the cost-benefit analysis. Periodic monitoring and evaluation of the Framework will also ensure effective linkages between Policy, Planning and Budgeting within a multi-year span. Another positive aspect that directly monitoring this Framework will produce is the improvement in the public sector through fiscal discipline and better resource allocation based on the Government’s existing programs.
As the government attempts to once again restore all sectors of the economy, rebuilding our infrastructure and raising incomes will depend solely on an effective monitoring system. This government’s plans, objectives and goals are in the interest of the Liberian people, and have created the atmosphere for potential investment. However, if we do nothing about the serious corruption that has saturated in our country today, even the monitoring and evaluation system will be of no use. Therefore, the M&E system must firstly seek to reform programs that are at the very root of Liberia’s problem starting with the strengthening and reforming of our weak judicial system.
According to the Governance Commission of Liberia’s mandate, the Liberian government is striving to “achieve a system of governance that is inclusive, participatory, just and accountable which encompasses a merit-based and transparent system of public administration and management of public institutions and national resources.” However, in order to have a good governance system in Liberia, we need a lot of reforms, including political and legal reforms, reforms in our public sector and most importantly, how this government’s progress and performance is being evaluated, audited and monitored.
-Janice C. Pratt
www.emansion.gov.lr/ Poverty Reduction Strategy Final Document