In its drive to ensure that local authorities use public resources in a transparent and accountable manner, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development says it will soon roll out and enforce effective use of Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) in the country’s 35 local government councils.
The ministry’s chief director Ernest Ntchentche said this on Monday in Mzuzu when he opened a two-day training on Ifmis for top managers in local authorities from the Northern Region.
He observed that the country has recently been awash with stories of mismanagement of public funds in some local authorities; hence, the training for non-finance officers to understand how Ifmis works.
Said Ntchentche: “District commissioners [DC] as financial controllers, need to understand payment procedures through Ifmis so that they sign for things which they are conversant with, thereby tracking resources which are in their control.”
On his part, National Local Government Finance Committee financial analyst Syak Mwamondwe said the ministry installed Ifmis in most local authorities, but has not been effective due to Internet connectivity and lack of compliance.
He said there is hope that top leadership in local authorities will be in the forefront to enforce use of Ifmis.
One of the participants, Karonga DC Paul Kalilombe said the training was critical in terms of controlling of public resources is concerned.
“Local authorities receive and manage huge amounts of resources, so it is imperative that DCs, as controlling officers, understand how Ifmis operates,” he said. Ifmis was first introduced in 2009 in a few government ministries and local authorities.
Ifmis was first introduced in 2009 with a few government ministries, local authorities and departments until 2014 when the system was installed in all local authorities amid challenges of internet connectivity and human capacity.
The training has been organized by Local Government Finance Committee through Local Government Accountability and Performance Project with funding from USAID and UKAID.