… Not aware of any country that is not using all modules
-“The whole purpose of the IFMAS program is to replace manual systems with automation for the purpose of accountability and transparency,” – Vice President of Sales
Earlier this year, Kaieteur News reported that Government was wasting assets and was not doing enough to prevent fraud in the national accounting system. This came about because the Ministry of Finance failed to implement two of the seven modules it had acquired for the Integrated Financial Management Accounting System (IFMAS).
The two modules that are not being used are the Purchasing Module and the Assets Inventory Module.
In the wake of the news report and questions at a media conference hosted by President Donald Ramotar, the President ordered Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh to host a press conference to explain why the entire IFMAS package which was secured at a cost of $132M, was not being used.
Singh, at a two-hour-long press conference, then set out to debunk a report by Kaieteur News that the government’s accounting system was flawed; that it was prone to irregularities.
He sought to justify why his ministry failed for over ten years, to implement two of the seven important modules belonging to a foolproof computerized accounting system.
The Finance Minister then stated that the two unimplemented modules are for a more mature environment. It should be noted that when Guyana got the IFMAS system, it was specially tailored to suit the country’s needs.
However, a senior officer of the Canadian company that designed the IFMAS says that he is unaware of any case where a government bought the system and did not use all of the modules.
Doug Hadden, Vice President of Sales, in an exclusive interview with this newspaper, said that while Governments are treated with a sense of privacy, he would advise that all the modules be used.
Asked whether the system was designed for mature or small environments, he said it was designed for “the immature to the very mature”. “We have implemented this system in countries with a far less mature environment than Guyana has.”
Hadden said that when it comes to the management of taxpayers’ dollars, accountability is of absolute importance. He said that it has been proven that manual systems which are in place to ensure accountability can be flawed and beaten.
To help ensure transparency and liability, his company designed the computerized accounting system, IFMAS, which covers how taxpayers’ money is budgeted and spent by the government.
He said that at this point the system is designed exclusively for governments and is implemented throughout the world.
But what are the possible implications of not using two of the most important modules?
Hadden explained that the Purchasing module is important because it allows you to automate everything. He said that if, for example, a government wants to buy a computer for a ministry, it would have to budget for it. The IFMAS then issues a purchasing order and when you pay for the computer, you collect a receipt and that can be scanned into the IFMAS. So, there is absolutely no need to keep the physical receipt. This, he said, would defeat the purpose of having the system.
He said that this is so because “the IFMAS was not designed to be backed by a manual system but to replace it”.
He continued: “The Assets module is very helpful for asset management. It is important because it helps the government to manage the value of state assets. It ensures that you don’t sell something for less than it is worth and it also helps governments to manage the assets to ensure the country is not being robbed.”
He said that the modules provide better control over what was spent, how it was spent, who is assigned to the asset acquired and what has become of its value.
He stressed that all the modules are important and should be implemented.
While the Government of Guyana has refused to implement the other two modules, Hadden says that it may very well be the case that the modules were implemented in a manner that suits the “priorities of the government.”
Hadden reiterated “the whole purpose of the IFMAS is to replace manual systems with automation for accountability and transparency.”
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