The Finance Ministry has moved ahead with the upgraded version of Government’s accounting software—Integrated Financial Management and Accounting Systems (IFMAS).
This is according to Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan.
Going forward, Jordan said that the Government will be examining the effectiveness and user-friendliness of existing and alternative platforms. He said that this will be done to ensure that Government continues to improve on processing times within IFMAS.
He said, too, that Government will also be moving to design the Integrated Financial Management and Information Systems (IFMIS), to replace the IFMAS.
IFMAS is intended to ensure accountability and transparency regarding how taxpayers’ money is budgeted and spent by the government.
A specially tailored system was first developed for Guyana by the Canadian company Free Balance and was secured at a cost of $132M. It came with seven components: Appropriation, Expenditure, General Ledger, Budget Preparation and Reporting System (BPRS), Purchasing, Revenue and Asset and Inventory Modules.
But after ten years, the Purchasing and Asset and Inventory Modules were not implemented.
In 2014, this newspaper carried a series of articles showing how liability for assets and monies could be improved if all the modules belonging to the IFMAS system were operable.
The Finance Minister recalled that in 2004, the past administration began the phased implementation of the system. This change saw a move from a completely manual system to an automated accounting system.
During his 2015 Budget speech, Jordan had revealed that after more than ten years and the expenditure of vast sums of money, the four installed IFMAS modules were “operating sub-optimally” or not to the highest standard.
He recalled that the country’s Auditor General, Deodat Sharma, had complained bitterly that the Finance Ministry’s system for recording gifts and assets is very poor.
Sharma in an interview with Kaieteur News had even stated that had the two unused IFMAS modules been operationalized, it would have made for an easier and more efficient audit of government books. With this position, the guardian of the national purse continuously called for the two modules to be activated.
Doug Hadden, Vice President of Sales of the Canadian Company, which develops the IFMAS, had said that he is unaware of any case where a government bought the system and did not use all of the modules. He said that while Governments are treated with a sense of privacy, he would advise that all the modules be used.
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