By Lincoln Barcon
National Bureau of Concessions (NBC) in collaboration with USAID Governance and Economic Management Support Project (USAID-GEMS) yesterday officially launched a new concession monitoring and reporting software tools aimed at assuring concessions integrity through compliance monitoring and evaluation.
Speaking during the launch of the Concessions Information Management System (CIMS) and Concession Reporting Template (CRT), the Director General Ciata Bishop said this software will enhance the predictability to government’s revenue streams through the use of current reported and verified data used in fiscal and other statistical models and analytical tools.
In brief remarks, Madam Bishop further stated that the NBC will make best efforts to establish the processes necessary for the implementation of uniformed national sectorial templates which enable effective communication and reporting between the Concessionaires and the Government of Liberia in minimizing the various reporting lines.
NBC Director General, Ciata Bishop, described the “Concessions Information Management System (CIMS)” and the “Concessions Reporting Template (CRT)” as tools intended to facilitate the monitoring of concessions by the government, provides accurate and timely information to existing and new investors, and streamlines reporting by Concessionaires.
“The CIMS is a comprehensive concession management solution specifically configured to cater for the needs of the Government of Liberia’s concession management entities,” NBC boss intimated.
According to the NBC boss, Ciata Bishop, the CIMS provides a single version of the truth when it comes to concessions management and offers a public portal which presents spatial data for all concessions, and also noted that these tools were developed by Spatial Dimension, a South African Cadastre Software Company, with support from the USAID-GEMS Project.
Launching the CIMS and CRT, Cllr. Steward Cooper lauded the NBC and USAID for the level of support provided to make this exercise a success which he said is a milestone that will enable the Government of Liberia effectively manage what is happening in the concessionary sector of the country.
He said the activities of the Cadastre put together to enable the government of Liberia do effective stock taking to facilitate economic planning, development planning, social planning and enable government effectively predict revenues to be generated both in terms of royalty and payment of taxes.
Cllr. Cooper further stated that the CIMS and CRT will allow the Government of Liberia to effectively evaluate what is happening to ensure concessions are engaged in activities consistent with the agreements with regard to the natural benefits of the people of Liberia.
Speaking further, Cllr. Cooper said CIMS and CRT will also enable the Government of Liberia to ensure that there is transparency and accountability at the sector and importantly, it allows the Government of Liberia to learn lessons from these experiences that can be applied to negotiation and renegotiation of concession agreements.
In remarks, the House Committee on Concessions Chairman, Eugene Kpakai, lauded the NBC for launching the Concessions Information Management System and Concession (CIMS) and CRT and said Liberia has made steady progress in terms of monitoring.
Rep. Kpakai said monitoring is good but Liberia has lacked one basic aspect which he described as enforcement which he said is the core of the matter.
He said the consequences of monitoring is either that the concession is doing good or retrogressing and stated further that the legislature is looking at either expanding the mandate of NBC or looking at other solutions toward the implementation of the CIMS & CRT so that NBC doesn’t look like a toothless bulldog. He then pledged the support of the National Legislature in ensuring that the purpose of the software be achieved.
For her part, a representative of UNDP speaking on behalf of Country Director, Madam Janice James lauded the Government of Liberia and partners for making the exercise a real success. She said this is an exemplary performance of Liberia’s commitment to governance in the extractive industry.