Tony Olutomiwa, Yenagoa
An integrated network designed to improve e-governance and efficient public service administration has been established by the Bayelsa State Government.
The technology-driven network is christened State Integrated Financial Management Information System (SIFMIS).
The SIFMIS is funded by the State Employment and Expenditure for Results Project (SEEFOR), a development platform involving the World Bank, European Union, Federal Government and the Bayelsa State Government, one of the participating states in the project.
Speaking with journalists after a tour of the SIFMIS facilities, in Yenagoa, on Wednesday, Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government (SSG), Kemela Okara, said that the SIFMIS “is key to the management of governance, which is your financial resources and personnel.”
Continuing, “Without these two elements, governance will be very limited in what it can achieve.
“So, a system that seeks to integrate and help you manage these two elements–money and persons–is a system that can have a very big impact in helping the restoration government (of Governor Seriake Dickson) achieve fully all the great and noble objectives that are set out.”
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Ademola Oladipo and Toyin Ajayi, project managers at Soft Alliance and PPC, respectively, who are the implementers of applications and managers of the network infrastructure, took the SSG and members of his team on the tour.
A consultant to the state government on the project, Evelyn Balogun, who described the SIFMIS as “a sustainability tool”, enumerated its benefits to include integrated financial reporting to provide single source for all financial management data; accuracy and timeliness of financial reports and improved government’s liquidity management, fiscal control and decision making.
Others, according to her, are process improvement and automation (accounting, budget procurement e.t.c), improved planning and budgeting, increased control on budgetary expenditure and strict adherence to budget; support the transitioning of IPSAS accrual accounting; capacity building and provision of stable and secure information technology infrastructure.
In his remarks, SEEFOR Project coordinator in Bayelsa State, Ayens Adogu, said part of the objectives of the project was to ensure that public financial management was technology-driven in the state.
He said that the SEEFOR funded the SIFMIS project through the assistance of the World Bank, European Union and the Federal Government with the state government’s counterpart fund.
Adogu expressed optimism that “this SIFMIS will enhance transparency and e-governance, and our partners are delighted about this project and its benefits to the state government.”
Bomote Kuroekigha, a civil servant and SIFMIS project manager, explained that the system was an elaborate process that had the capacity to eliminate ghost-worker syndrome, payroll fraud and other malpractices in the civil service.
She added that the SIFMIS was not only about capturing of the biometrics of workers but the revalidating of data and storage of electronic copies of credentials of the state’s workforce, stressing that the system was not prone to fraudulent manipulations.