Opinion and Analysis
Automation plan will ease service delivery
Posted Monday, July 16 2012 at 22:55
Plans by the Treasury to link up ministries and counties through a central automated system should be expedited.
The implementation of the new devolved system of governance is likely to pose major challenges in key areas such as procurement and planning, which if not well handled could lead to a major loss of revenue.
The Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) being pushed by the Treasury will cover all processes from planning, requisition, buying of goods and services and final payment to suppliers.
The module will also handle basic tasks such as generation of payment vouchers, online approvals and electronic payments in addition to complex jobs, including budgetary controls, goods delivery and inspection receipting.
This will certainly play a big role in sealing gaps in areas such as buying of goods and services which have over the years been abused by some cartels to steal taxpayers’ money.
Though the concept of IFMIS has been in the pipeline for more than a decade, its implementation has failed to take off, largely due to lack of political goodwill as well as resistance by some parties believed to have been beneficiaries of the inefficient budgetary, procurement and revenue systems.
This must not be tolerated anymore and officers charged with this task should work to ensure the system is in place soonest possible.
Some State agencies such as the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) have already posted impressive results from efficient online transaction platforms such as the Simba 2005 system and we need to replicate this success across government ministries and the counties.
Revenue collection by KRA has as a result of the Simba system increased sharply since the introduction of the online portal, boosting the government in financing its own programmes and projects.
The expected savings through the adoption of the IFMIS system could help ease pressure on Treasury at a time when the country is faced with increased budgetary demands to finance key projects such as the implementation of the Constitution.
We should, therefore, focus our efforts on ensuring that the automated system is in place in good time ahead of the creation of county governments. Adequate training should also be given to officers to use this system so that its noble objectives are not lost to ignorance.
The success of this system will require political goodwill and building consensus among political leaders is vital. The plans will be beneficial to society and let us all support it.