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Saturday, July 20, 2024

WORLD BANK APPROVES $30 MILLION FOR GOVERNANCE REFORM AND ACCOUNTABILITY TRANSFORMATION IN LIBERIA

Date:

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved financing for the Governance Reform and Accountability Transformation (GREAT) Project, a flagship initiative aimed at enhancing public service delivery in Liberia. The project, funded by an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$30 million, will focus on increasing access to digitally provided public services, raising tax revenues, and improving the transparency and accountability of institutions.

“The GREAT project will support the government’s ARREST (Agriculture, Roads, Rule of Law, Education, Sanitation, and Tourism) agenda by achieving greater transparency, accountability, and efficiency in public institutions. It will accelerate efforts to rebuild and transform key institutions while delivering tangible results for the people of Liberia, including those in hard-to-reach areas,” said World Bank Liberia Country Manager Georgia Wallen.

The project aims to tackle three significant challenges in Liberia: weak delivery of administrative services due to low state presence and infrastructure constraints, a strained fiscal outlook stemming from low domestic resource mobilization, and limited accountability in managing public resources, which leads to uneven service delivery. Insufficient revenues hinder the state’s ability to provide services, while tax collection remains difficult in an environment of low accountability. These interconnected challenges will be addressed simultaneously through the GREAT project.

Beneficiaries of the GREAT project include various government institutions such as ministries, regulatory bodies, and commissions involved in finance, development, telecommunications, identification, revenue, anti-corruption, public accounts, procurement, and auditing. Ultimately, the citizens of Liberia will benefit from the project through improved public service delivery, higher domestic revenue mobilization, and enhanced transparency and accountability. Special emphasis will be placed on improving basic service delivery at the county level, benefiting citizens living outside the capital city, Monrovia.

“The new project’s focus on multichannel service delivery, especially through the digitalization of public services, will make key services more accessible and affordable. The implementation of the Value-Added Tax (VAT) will expand the tax base and enable the government to collect more revenue to meet spending needs. Greater transparency and accountability will improve trust in the public sector’s performance and strengthen the social contract,” said Co-Task Team Leaders, Runyararo Gladys Senderayi and MacDonald Nyazvigo.

The GREAT project will also seek to enhance follow-up on audit recommendations, the rollout of the e-government procurement system, the launch of a digitalized asset declaration and verification system, the rollout of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) to the counties, and the expansion of the National ID system.

The International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest credits for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 74 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Since its inception, IDA has provided $458 billion to 114 countries, with annual commitments averaging about $29 billion over the last three years (FY19-FY21), with approximately 70 percent of these funds directed to Africa.

This new project is expected to bring substantial benefits to Liberia by enhancing the efficiency of public service delivery, increasing government revenues, and building a more transparent and accountable governance system, thereby fostering economic growth and improving the quality of life for its citizens.

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