Stakeholders Endorse New PFM Strategy

first_imgStakeholders who attended a two-day validation conference on Liberia’s new Public Financial Management (PFM) strategy have endorsed the new system that seeks to improve the country’s economic and budgetary performance and is expected to kick off in 2017 and end in 2020.The new strategy, which comes as a result of the current strategy that ended in June this year, will have an internal audit agency, unlike its predecessor.The conference was held from December 16-17, and was organized by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.Tanneh Geraldine Brunson, Deputy Minister for Budget at the Ministry of Finance, said improving budget credibility and comprehensiveness by strengthening the institutional capacities for preparing medium-term revenue and expenditure will bring all donor financing into the budget without hindrance.“Today, as we validate this new strategy that covers the next four years, it is very important that we re-emphasize these areas, some in which significant improvements have been made, but still needs to be addressed,” said Minister Brunson, who spoke on behalf of MFDP Minister Boima Kamara. According to her, there continues to be clear challenges to sustaining domestic resource generation in the country; however, she was quick to clarify that these challenges are not unique to Liberia. She named narrow tax base and a huge informal sector, lack of transparency which inhibits citizens’ willingness to comply with tax laws, as some of the challenges. Others are Illicit flows, tax havens, and transfer prices which circumvent the normal taxation process, as some of the obstacles in the sector.“We therefore need to build capacities of relevant stakeholder institutions, not only to mobilize domestic resources but also using them effectively and efficiently by enforcing tax payment compliance, reviewing tax relief policies, enhancing revenue collection through provision of proper tax information and education,” she suggested.Deputy Minister Brunson called on stakeholders to expand their tax base instead of raising tax rates.Minister Brunson also called for the enhancement of public investment management by integrating externally financed projects with the domestically financed public sector investment projects on a common platform. Emmanuel Togba, head of Public Financial Management Unit at MFDP, said the new law will also have county treasuries that would handle every financial matter in their respective localities.According to him, most of the PFM institutions collapsed, their systems failed, and human capacity deteriorated, culminating at a situation in which there was near complete absence of procedures in the application of public resources. “With assistance from our development partners,” he said, “the government enacted the PFM Act in 2009 to strengthen greater transparency and accountability around public resources.”The new strategy, he added, will guide the country for the next four years and, during the period, treasuries in the various counties, for example, will have their own procurement offices.Meanwhile, the conference was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Justice, General Auditing Commission, Governance Commission, Civil Service Agency, as well as development partners, namely the World Bank, IMF, USAID, EU, SIDA, and AFDB, among others.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

PHOTOS Costa Rica march demands end to street harassment

first_img Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times The victim of the attack was pregnant, and a physical examination the next day found the fetus had died. The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating Sánchez’s forensic and pregnancy tests to determine if the death was caused by the attack.In a barbaric multiple slaying in Guanacaste last month, suspect Adrián Salmerón Silva killed a family of five, including three children, before fleeing to Nicaragua, where he was apprehended.Last week, a woman in Puntarenas province reported another attack by a customer at her appliance store. A security video shows the man entering the store to pick up an appliance that was being repaired, and minutes later, the man is seeing entering the shop again to punch the woman at least three times.One of the most widely known cases occurred last October, when 22-year-old Costa Rican Gerardo Cruz became a national hero after he posted a video to his Facebook page of a confrontation with a man who had been filming up a woman’s skirt with a smartphone.Three days after posting the video, Cruz was stabbed and later died of a heart attack after remaining in the hospital for nearly a month.Men can be victims, tooMost victims of street harassment and catcalling are overwhelmingly women. But men sometimes are victims, too.A survey by the University of Costa Rica’s School of Statistics released in January found that 61.7 percent of women and 32.8 percent of men surveyed said they were victims of street sexual harassment in the past  year. Both women and men cited catcalling, vulgar gestures, wolf-whistling and being groped.Street harassment in Costa Rica is currently considered a misdemeanor, penalized under Article 392 of the country’s Penal Code. Those found guilty face only a monetary fine ranging from five to 30 days salary, a maximum of about $780. Related posts:New campaign targets sexual harassment in public places Finally some upbeat news for family of Costa Rica’s good Samaritan Gerardo Cruz Police arrest suspected killers of Gerardo Cruz Woman records video of man reaching down her shirt on bus; receives no help from driver Over 100 people on Tuesday evening marched along San José’s Central Avenue to protest the persistent sexual harassment of women – and sometimes men – in public places, including streets, sidewalks, parks and the workplace.Dubbed “Las calles también son nuestras” – “The streets are ours, too” – the demonstration was convened by the National Women’s Institute (INAMU) as part of International Women’s Day.Protesters gathered in front of the Central Bank in the center of Costa Rica’s capital, and at 6 p.m. they walked towards the Plaza de la Cultura chanting slogans and carrying signs.“No means no. What part of that don’t you understand, the N or the O?” chanted protesters, along with, “My body, my choice,” and “No more!”Members of several human rights and LGBT groups joined the protest.Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, first lady Mercedes Peñas and the couple’s daughters joined demonstrators, along with Vice President Ana Helena Chacón and Women’s Issues Minister and INAMU President Alejandra Mora.“I’m here to demand that women can walk and work peacefully in public spaces,” President Solís said. “We cannot tolerate more aggression. Violence is unacceptable.”Recent casesThe demonstration took place two weeks after a video of a man punching a woman on the sidewalk in front of Calderón Guardia Hospital in San José went viral and prompted a criminal investigation.Jennifer Sánchez, 25, told police that she stood up to the man after he began catcalling her on the street. The man reacted by kicking and punching her several times, until a bystander jumped in and stopped the attack.The aggressor was arrested minutes later by police officers patrolling the area. The incident was recorded by a security camera from a nearby store and was posted on the Facebook profiles of several women’s rights groups.See a video report of the incident by Noticias Repretel: Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more