IMPORTANT LINKS

CENTRAL BANK OF THE GAMBIA

AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

INT'L MONETARY FUND

WORLD BANK GROUP

DFID UK

 

 

 

1. What is the IFMIS?

The Integrated Financial Management Information System is an application that bundles together Budget Preparation, Budget Execution, Accounting, Financial Management and

Reporting activities for the Government of the Gambia. It is integrated in nature and it ensures that data entered at one point is electronically availed to the next stage without duplication of data entry activities.

2.     What activities are involved in the implementation of the IFMIS?

The IFMIS implementation involves various activities, including the installation and implementation, through training and provision of preventive and remedial maintenance, of a computerized, integrated financial management system based on a turnkey approach. The IFMIS comprises of a three tier computing architecture with a central database and application server set-ups at the Primary Site at the Directorate of National Treasury, the Disaster Recovery Site (DRS), and remote workstations of thin client PCs at the Departments of State. Local Area Networks at the Departments of State are linked to the Data Centre and the DRS via a Wide Area Network using a hybrid combination of fibre and radio based local loop technology.

3.     Why do we need the IFMIS?

The IFMIS is designed to improve systems for financial data recording, tracking and information management. This is in response to increasing demands for greater transparency and accountability in the management of the public’s finances. It will enable Government to produce financial information for statutory reporting requirements and to generate timely and accurate information for decision making in such critical areas as budget planning and management, procurement, assets management and management of the payroll. It will also interface with the Customs, Tax Administration, Debt Management and Central Bank systems. The IFMIS therefore augments all fiscal and financial management processes throughout Government.

 

4. What Integrated Modules are being implemented in the Gambia?

The IFMIS application software package being implemented in the Gambia is Epicor. For the past 20 years, Epicor Software Corporation has been a recognized leader dedicated to providing integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions to customers around the world. Our IFMIS will have the Following Integrated Modules:

  • The Public Sector Budgeting Module

  • The Purchasing Module

  • The Payables Module

  • The Receipting & Receivables Module

  • The Cash Management Module

  • The Payroll Module and

  • General Ledger Module

5.     Who has been contracted to supply, install and commission the IFMIS?

 The IFMIS Supplier’s set-up is as follows:

PRIME CONTRACTOR

Soft-Tech Consultants Ltd

 P.O Box 21692, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

JOINT VENTURE PARTNER

IFMIS Application Software

Epicor Software Corporation

18200 Von Karman Ave, Suite 1000, Irvine, California 92612, USA

LOCAL AGENT

Quantum Net, The Gambia

SUB-CONTRACTOR- Hardware, LAN, WAN, Training Infrastructure

Quantum Net, The Gambia

SUB-CONTRACTOR- Consulting in Accounting procedures & manuals

KPMG Ghana

 

SUB-CONTRACTOR- Nas.Net Payroll module

HITS, United Arab Emirates

The Prime Contractor, Soft-Tech Consultants Ltd. has its headquarters and 8 regional offices in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and offices in Kenya and Uganda. It employs over 150 professional staff with experience to deliver services at the highest standards. Soft-Tech has successfully implemented a nationwide IFMIS solution in Tanzania and is also behind the ongoing IFMIS implementation in Malawi.

QuantumNet is one of the leading IT service providers in the Gambia and has vast experience in the planning, installation and maintenance of Local and Wide Area Network solutions. During our implementation, Quantum Net will handle all aspects related to hardware, networks and training infrastructure.

KPMG Ghana has been involved in the implementation of a number of financial management systems for clients in the West African region. The firm will provide consulting expertise in accounting procedures and manuals for our IFMIS project.

HITS is a reputable international payroll software company whose products are used all over the world. The Nas.Net module is an integrated payroll and human resource information management system which has won worldwide acclaim.

6.     How long will it take to implement IFMIS?

To ensure success, implementation of the project is being undertaken in two phases spanning over a period of five and a half years (January 2005 to June 2010).  

Phase 1 of the IFMIS project involves the implementation of the core budgeting, accounting and Payroll modules in 6 sites comprising of the:

  • Department of State for Finance and Economic Affairs

  • Directorate of National Treasury

  • Gambia Revenue Authority

  • National Audit Office

  • Department of State for Education

  • Personnel Management Office

Phase 11 will involve:

  •  Rolling out the system to the remaining 21 Departments of State;

  • Implementation of Epicor Fixed Assets and Inventory modules;

  • Implementation of interfaces with the Central Bank, Debt Management and GRA Tax Administration systems;

  • Implementation of a Data Warehouse application/module

  • Upgrade to a web-enabled Epicor version that would enable system access by Embassies

  • Implementation of the following HR modules:

  • Recruitment Management

  • Document Management & Archiving

  • Training Administration

  • Performance Appraisal Management (competency based)

7.     What are the benefits of the IFMIS?

Throughout the world, it is a recognized fact that availability of accurate information is a prerequisite for Economic and Financial Management improvement. One of the major problems we are facing in the Gambia is lack of accurate, timely and appropriate Budget & Accounting Information. This is characterised by:

  • Backlog of un-reconciled bank accounts

  • Endemic Budget Overruns

  • Lack of a comprehensive Chart of Accounts that Complies with Government Financial Statistics

  • Inaccurate and incomplete Accounts that don’t comply with International Public Sector Accounting Standards

  • Inadequate systems for collection and tracking of revenue

Key IFMIS benefits include:

  • Timely production of reports and financial statements.

  • Achievement of a faster transaction processing cycle.

  • Elimination of errors in transaction processes.

  • Strengthening of the Government’s efforts to demonstrate accountability to the citizens and development partners.

  • Achievement of a comprehensive commitment control system.

  • An interlinked system of internal controls providing clear audit trails and identification of the originator for all transactions.

  • flexible chart of accounts embedded within the IFMIS provides analysis at different levels by Department, Agency, Economic Category, function of Government, Objective, Project, Output and Activity level.

  • Provision of a harmonised and coordinated Government wide budgeting and accounting systems thereby eliminating wasteful expenditure and duplication of scarce resources.

  • Coordinated information database providing a “one stop shop” for information about activities of all Government entities to the public, auditors and Development Partners.

  • Simplified automated bank account reconciliation

  • Improvement of Government’s ability to deliver services to the public more effectively, efficiently and economically.

  • Improvement of the compatibility and consistency of fiscal and financial information. 

8. How is the IFMIS Project being managed?

Because the project is large and complex, it has needed very careful planning. To ensure that the project succeeds, Government has instituted sound project management techniques. The Project governance structures are as follows:

  •       There is a Steering Committee comprised of senior government representatives and chaired by the IFMIS Leader, the Permanent Secretary, Department of State for Finance and Economic Affairs. This committee provides policy guidelines, sets overall priorities, endorses milestone achievements and strategic decisions, and spearheads the change initiatives.

  •         The IFMIS Owner is the Director of National Treasury who is also a member of the IFMIS Steering Committee. He provides high-level support as the champion of the project; monitors the progress of the project from a business standpoint as well as the business environment to ensure that the project still meets the business needs; and keeps the IFMIS Leader and Steering Committee informed of implementation progress.

  •      There is a Project Management Team, which is a multidisciplinary Committee that meets every week to discuss progress reports from the implementation work groups. It is chaired by the IFMIS Owner and undertakes routine management activities of the IFMIS implementation, ensures proper management of the procured goods and services, liaises with IFMIS consultants and minimizes disruption of Government activities in the IFMIS implementation process.

  •        Project Implementation Work Groups with membership from across Government have been formed to undertake activities of communication and sensitization, training, audit and security, contract management, application development, information communication technology (ICT) and site support.

  •      There is a Project Manager who is responsible for the management of the project on a day-o-day basis and for the achievement of the project objectives within time, cost and quality/performance constraints. He plans, monitors and controls the project; keeps the sponsor and senior management informed of progress; and serves as the principal point of contact between the sponsor, management and the supplier.

9.     How is the IFMIS implementation funded?

Given the magnitude of the implementation, Government has, through the Capacity Building and Economic Management Project (CBEMP), obtained external financing from the World Bank. This covers the acquisition and installation of hardware, software and the IT network infrastructure, as well as the associated staff training costs. It is hoped that other development partners will assist with the financing of initiatives that are complementary to the IFMIS in order to enhance the success of the implementation.

10.  How are the IFMIS maintenance costs being funded?

All IFMIS IT components that have been installed carry a 36 months’ manufacturers’ warranty as well as a two years’ post warranty maintenance period. During this period, the IFMIS Supplier will carry out both remedial and preventive maintenance on a regular basis.  

Beginning with the 2007 financial year, IFMIS recurrent costs have been factored in the Government budget to meet the costs associated with operating the system.

11.  Will the IFMIS result in any job losses? What is the new role of the Internal Audit Department?

No job losses are anticipated. However, some officers may have to be re-trained for possible redeployment. Training has been arranged to provide computing skills to users so that they can utilise the IFMIS. Additionally, the supplier has carried out extensive training on the IFMIS application for all the users in the Phase 1 sites. Any emerging training needs are swiftly addressed by the Training Management Workgroup at DNT.

The role of the auditors remains the same. What has changed is the way they do their work. The Internal Auditors will use IFMIS to do their work as opposed to using manual/legacy systems. The IFMIS has inbuilt controls that actually make it easier for the auditors to do to their work. However, the focus has changed from “pre-auditing” to the audit of systems, enforcement of controls and procedures and value for money audits- this is in line with best practice and the IFMIS is being used as a supporting tool.

12.  What are the sustainability plans for the IFMIS?

A training needs assessment (TNA) exercise was carried out in July 2005 to assess the competence levels and training requirements of staff involved in financial management activities across Government. Basing on the findings of this exercise and the IFMIS project implementation plan, a training schedule was developed and is being implemented. Ongoing training comprises of basic IT skills, Epicor functional and technical training, induction and on-the-job training and professional accountancy courses. Government has set up and equipped an in-house training facility and Government trainers will be used to support training activities alongside the supplier’s consultants. Additionally, all Consultants on the implementation have Government staff working alongside them in order to ensure adequate knowledge and skills transfer.

An IFMIS Sustainability Plan was developed by the IFMIS Project Team in consultation with all stakeholders in July 2008 and clearly highlights the IFMIS sustainability strategies and plans to Phase out Consultants commencing in December 2009. The plan is based on various assumptions and will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

13.  Which officers have access to the system?

Only officers responsible for Government financial management responsibilities have access to the system at the moment. This means that officers with functions relating to budgeting, purchasing, payments, receipting, payroll, cash management and general ledger can process financial transactions online. In the later implementation phases there will be an effort to deepen and widen the IFMIS applications and scope. 

14.  How is the IFMIS information kept secure?

In addition to physical security measures at the Data Centre and other installations, the IFMIS software can only be accessed by authorised users using unique user IDs and passwords. The software has an in-built hierarchical password set-up, which regulates access to different functions hence ensuring the segregation of duties. The system also has an inbuilt audit trail mechanism that tracks access as well as all changes that have been effected on the system.

At the Data Centre, where the IFMIS database is housed, a firewall prevents unauthorised access from cyber space. This is complimented by a sophisticated intrusion detection system. In addition, data transmission between the Data Centre and the Departments of State is protected by modern encryption technology. The Department of State for Finance and Economic Affairs has also engaged the fulltime services of IT professionals who monitor security risks and take appropriate action in a timely and efficient manner.

15.  What would happen in the event of a system failure?

Contingency plans are in place to ensure Government business continuity at all times. Back-ups are performed on a daily basis and the data tapes are kept in a very secure area. Government has also set up a Disaster Recovery Site which will be activated whenever there is disruption to the processing facilities at the primary site (Data Centre).

16.  What are the critical success factors for the IFMIS?

Successful implementation of the IFMIS is dependant on the commitment of all stakeholders to support the process. Below are some expectations from the stakeholders:

  •      Top level political and management support & commitment is critical to the success of the ongoing financial management reforms.

  •       Change management must be continuously carried out in order to ensure that change agents are identified in key areas to ease the sensitisation and buy-in of all key stakeholders.

  •      The IFMIS implementation is not a quick fix- Sufficient planning is required to ensure success. Patience and caution must be exercised throughout the implementation.

  •       Availability of the IFMIS users to undertake training during the implementation process.

  •      Incorporation of IFMIS implementation activities into the mainstream activities of all Departments of State and Departments.

  •     Large-scale investments in budgeting, accounting, procurement and payroll systems should be avoided and if unavoidable, must be coordinated by the IFMIS Steering Committee.

  •     Future recurrent costs associated with the implementation of the IFMIS should be planned for by all Government entities.

  •      Stakeholders should promptly identify issues and communicate them to the Steering Committee and/or the Project Management Team for resolution.

  •      To succeed, the implementation of IFMIS must be supported by parallel complementary reforms such as Reform of the legal framework to handle automated and electronic systems and improve financial accountability; Update of financial regulations and treasury accounting instructions; Formulation of classified expenditure regulations; Increasing information and awareness to the public and other stakeholders on public expenditures; Clearance of financial management, accounting and reporting backlogs; Strengthening internal audit and determining their role in an automated IFMIS environment; Strengthening the capacity of the National Audit Office to handle automated systems’ audit; and strengthening the accounting profession via a comprehensive training program for Accountants and Auditors to prepare them for the IFMIS implementation and to ensure sustainability of the system.

  •       Adequate Funding must be secured in a timely manner so that implementation activities do not stall.    

  •     A turnkey implementation arrangement should be maintained at all times so that one contractor takes the prime responsibility for all system design, development, integration and support activities.

  •       SUPPLIERS: No matter who they are, they need to be managed closely. Suppliers are in it for a commercial benefit!!!

  •           An IFMIS sustainability plan entailing the transfer of skills from consultants to Government staff must be firmly in place in order to ensure the sustainability of the system once the consultants leave.

17.  Are there any other countries that have successfully implemented the IFMIS?     

Similar systems have been successfully implemented in a number of developed countries and African countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Mauritius, Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Many other countries such as Ghana, Zambia, Ethiopia, Botswana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Namibia, Angola and Nigeria are at various stages of implementation.

18.  What procedural changes have taken place since the Go-Live of the IFMIS on 3 Jan. 2007?

The changes are various and have been aimed at ensuring that GOTG processes financial transactions in an efficient manner in accordance with best practices. Following Go-Live, the pilot sites have been able to access the IFMIS and carry out transactions online from their premises. The Directorate of National Treasury accesses the approved transactions online and processes cheque payments on the basis of endorsed requests from the Departments of State. NAO and GRA process their payments from their premises given their semi autonomous status. All bank reconciliations are now done automatically and financial statement backlogs have been eliminated. Consequently, financial and management reports are available from the IFMIS on a real-time basis using the updated GFS and IPSAS compliant Chart of Accounts Structure.

Non-pilot sites which do not yet have online access after go-live now process their purchase orders and cheque payments through a data centre which has been set up at the Directorate of National Treasury. Application and technical core teams are on the ground to offer the 1st level of support to the end users. Any issues that cannot be resolved by the core teams are escalated to the IFMIS supplier through an automated Help Desk System.

NB: Detailed procedural changes are covered in the new GOTG Financial Procedures Manual which is available on request from the Directorate of National Treasury. W.e.f Go-live, i.e., 1st January 2007, Purchase Orders and cheques for ALL Government Departments are printed off the IFMIS in order to ensure absolute commitment control. Additionally, all Suppliers and Government Employees must have a Tax Identification Number (TIN) in order to transact business with the Government.

19.  How does the System detect and/or prevent fraud?   

Best practice financial procedures, physical controls and security inbuilt within the application software and IT infrastructure (including access controls, segregation of duties, audit trails, validation checks etc) help to detect irregularities in a timely manner. The online Departments of State issue a formal request before cheques are printed off the system. Additionally, all government cheques are printed off the IFMIS (including those of non-pilot sites) and a confirmation letter is issued to the Central Bank by the Directorate of National Treasury so that the authenticity of all cheques is validated before they are honoured.

The system cannot detect irregularities caused by connivance between end users. However, a comprehensive audit trail exists to determine who initiated, amended or approved a transaction and from which location and at what time.

20.   Does the system allow the overdrawing of the Treasury Main Account?         

Before Go-live, the government bank accounts were restructured to ensure that the Treasury Main Account (TMA) cannot be overdrawn. The system does not allow the printing of a cheque if there is no money on the TMA. To enable easier monitoring and reconciliation, revenues are banked in a separate Consolidated Revenue Fund Account and are periodically released to the TMA in line with approved cash allocations to Departments of State and agencies. Since commitments are made on the basis of effected cash allocations, there is no way that the TMA can be overdrawn.

Commitment control on the IFMIS ensures that before a local purchase order or other commitment is entered into, there are available funds which are backed up by cash on the TMA via approved cash allocations by the Budget Directorate. An inbuilt check also matches cash allocations against the appropriated budget.

Text Box: Once a purchase order is printed off the IFMIS, the associated funds are reserved and cannot be accessed for the processing of any other transactions. Suppliers are therefore guaranteed of payment once a purchase order is issued to them from the IFMIS.
 

 

 

21.  What plans are in place to ensure that End Users in Phase II are equipped with the requisite IT skills and knowledge in a timely manner?

As witnessed in the Phase I implementation, the nature of financial transaction processing in the Gambia is undergoing a fundamental change whereby many hitherto manual procedures and processes have been replaced with automated procedures by the IFMIS across Government. Computing skills are therefore vital to ensure the overall success of the implementation. To ensure that these basic IT skills are imparted in a timely manner, the Training Management Workgroup has already embarked on an exercise of ascertaining IT skills gaps within the Phase II sites. This is being done via a questionnaire that has been administered to all Phase II potential IFMIS users (in case you are a new GOTG user in need of basic IT training please get in touch with the TMG contact person at the back of this brochure).

The basic computing skills required for the successful operation of the IFMIS are windows navigation, excel, email use and word processing. It is planned that the basic IT training will be carried out in-house by the GOTG IT Technical Core Team based at DNT.


22.  Is it possible to access the Internet through the IFMIS Network?

The IFMIS is a web-based solution. However, due to security considerations, access to the Internet via the IFMIS network is not allowed. This is due to the criticality of the operations and sensitivity of the information processed on the IFMIS. Since the IFMIS is the backbone of Government financial management, it is critical that the system is protected from any attacks such as attacks from viruses and Trojans and any risks that may affect the system uptime as this directly impacts on Government’s financial transaction processing activities.

However, all IFMIS Users have access to email facilities through an intranet imbedded in the system. The email facility is also used to transmit email alerts which alert users when transactions are forwarded for their approval or attention. Email alerts can also be triggered when particular transactions are initiated, e.g., the Vote Controller may be notified by an alert whenever a transaction exceeding a particular amount, say GMD 100,000 is initiated on the system; whenever an expenditure is raised on the overseas travel vote, etc. Alerts can be determined by users and our Technical Core Team can assist in setting them up as required.

23.  What are the planned Key IFMIS implementation activities?

Below are the key implementation activities and associated timelines for 2007 and subsequent periods. Dates prior to August 2008 indicate dates/timelines pertaining to the realised achievement of key milestones/activities. Given the dynamic nature of activities and the complexity of the IFMIS implementation, please note that future dates, i.e., dates beyond August 2008 are not cast in stone and are subject to revision.

Implementation Period

IFMIS Activity

3rd January 2007

IFMIS Go-live covering all Departments of State

January 2007- June 2007

Payroll parallel run, testing and deployment of non-critical functionality and reports, reinforcement training and operational acceptance activities

July 2007- December 2008

  1.  Periodic financial reports, Budget module-2008 & 2009 Budget implementation processes based on the IFMIS

  2. Achievement of Phase 1 Operational Acceptance (May 2008)

  3. Phase I Support and maintenance contractual arrangements

  4. Phase I closure activities

  5. Phase II contractual arrangements

  6. Basic IT training for Phase II IFMIS End Users

January 2009 – March 2009

End of year financial reports, 2009 Budget post-implementation processes

January 2009-

December 2009

Implementation of Phase 11 of the IFMIS, which will cover 21 Departments of State

January 2010 – March 2010

End of year financial reports, 2010 Budget post-implementation processes and Phase 11 closure activities

June 2010

Project completed

 

Text Box: For more information about the IFMIS you may visit the DOSFEA website at http://www.dosfea.gm or contact: 
The Permanent Secretary, Department of State for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Mod Secka   
Telephone: +220 4227221/ 4227529; Fax:   +220 4227954; Email: modsecka@yahoo.com
The Director of National Treasury, Mr. Gabriel Mendy – Telephone/Fax: +220 4227286; 
Email: gbmendy@yahoo.com
The IFMIS Project Manager, Mr. Robert Mpagi – Telephone: +220 4228912; 
Email: rmpagi@dosfea.gm  or r_ddamulira@yahoo.co.uk
The Financial Management Advisor, Mr. Robert Otala – Telephone +220 4228915; 
Email: robert_otala@yahoo.com
The Coordinator of the Training Management Workgroup, Mr. Omar K. Mbye Telephone +220 4228915; 
Email: o.mbye@gamtel.gm
The Data Centre Manager, Mr. Njundu Fatty – Telephone: +220 4228981; 
Email: nfatty@dosfea.gm
The Application Team Leader, Mr. Momodou Lamin Bah- Telephone: +220 4228980 
Email: mlbah05@yahoo.com
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright DOSFEA 2008, Designed and Developed by IFMIS Team