Tool to manage govt operations back

February 28, 2011

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – The government has re-launched an instrument that will enable it better manage public finances and increase accountability and transparency in the way the taxpayers\’ money is spent.

Dubbed the \’Integrated Financial Management and Information System\’ (IFMIS), the revamped tool is expected to reduced corruption and the misappropriation of public funds and at the same time ensure the availability of timely and accurate financial reports.

"It will also ensure readily available status reports that will enhance the capacity to track budgets and enable effective decision making and comprehensive real-time recording of financial transactions as well as on-line electronic data exchange between the Treasury system and central agencies," Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta said on Monday.

IFMIS was initially launched in 2003 as part of the reforms needed in the public financial management system.

But speaking during the launch of the three-year strategic plan that will oversee the implementation of IFMIS, the Minister detailed how the lack of infrastructural support and political will, have over the years led to the lacklustre performance of the automated system.

A weak institutional framework also contributed to the slow uptake of the system across ministries.

"The implementation of IFMIS encountered its fair share of challenges which ranged from technology based systemic issues, proliferation of independent public financial management initiatives, capacity constraints, the existence of parallel manual systems, and a disjointed and often less than optimal internal and external communication infrastructure," Mr Kenyatta pointed out.

However, the minister disclosed that an independent department had been established at the Treasury to spearhead the process which will include the digitisation of key government documents and automation and integration of processes such as the expenditure and cash and debt management systems.

The aim is to eventually have a platform for the operation of a single Treasury account.

Besides enhancing service delivery, Mr Kenyatta said the re-engineering and implementation of IFMIS was vital particularly at a time when the country was shifting into the devolved system of government.

The rollout of the various public financial management interventions into a coherent and cohesive framework will be done in collaboration with the ICT Board under the e-government platform.

Information Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo under whose Ministry the board falls, pledged that the budget process would be operational in six months.

"We want to provide as much support as we can because the Kenyans we have now are different from what we had before. They are impatient and use IT for most of their businesses and so we have to automate to ensure better service delivery to them," PS Ndemo said.

It is envisaged that there will also be a backup and disaster recovery system that will guarantee uninterrupted provision of government services.

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