Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) says it will soon roll out and enforce effective use of Integrated Finance Management System (Ifmis) to all 35 local authorizes in the country.
The remarks were made Monday in Mzuzu by MLGRD chief director, Ernest Ntchentche when he opened a two-day training on Ifmis for top management teams of local authorities drawn from the north.
Ntchentche said recently the country has been awash with stories of mismanagement of public funds in some local authorities, hence the training for heads of sectors and district commissioners who are non-finance officers for them to understand how Ifmis works.
“District Commissioners 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,” said Ntchentche.
He said it will be easy to trace issues of financial mismanagement and abuse once the local authorities start using the Ifmis.
“Now that government has secured funds to address issues of connectivity, it is envisaged that all local authorities will be able to process all payments through Ifmis without any challenge,” he said.
In his remarks, Local Government Finance Committee Financial Analyst, Syak Mwamondwe said MLGRD installed Ifmis in most local authorities some time back.
“But the initiative was in some cases not effective due to internet connectivity and lack of compliance due to inadequate knowledge coupled with leis fare type of leadership in some authorities,” said Mwamondwe.
He said there is hope that the top leadership of local authorities with the knowledge gained at the training, will be in the forefront in enforcing the use of Ifmis by finance personnel.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, District Commissioner (DC) for Karonga, Paul Kalilombe said the training was of paramount importance for management teams of the local authorities in as far as control 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,” said Kalilombe.
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.