Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
Auditor General Edward Ouko yesterday faulted the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) and recommended an independent audit of the public electronic procurement system. Ifmis provides an end-to-end platform meant to enhance accountability among suppliers and on expenditure.
Ouko proposed Ifmis be subjected to scrutiny to determine whether it is effective and practical to serve both National and County governments.
The audit, he said, will also ascertain Ifmis use in safeguarding public funds. According to the Auditor General, his office has noted glaring discrepancies in the information given by Ifmis and that reported by National and County governments.
“I have come to realise it’s not the fault of the counties, it’s time we re-looked at the system to establish whether it still serves the intended purpose,” Ouko told delegates at the sixth Devolution Conference.
“We must decide if it is still applicable and efficient for two levels of government,” he said.
Governors have previously raised concerns they don’t get funding on time because of Ifmis malfunctioning but National Treasury has maintained county bosses are to blame for the financial constraints in their regions.
Far-flung counties such as Mandera, Wajir, West Pokot, and Marsabit have been worst hit, experiencing constant connectivity challenges.
To solve the challenges, Ouko proposed Ifmis be divided into two tiers, one to serve counties and the other the National government.
He said the system must be upgraded and its infrastructure corrected as it had become a new avenue to embezzle public resources.
“If one ifmis line breaks down the whole system is paralysed because of problems of connectivity and centralisation,” he said.
“When IFMIS is down, I am told the respective county executives have to come to Nairobi to sort it out,” he added.
He advised governors to find a way to build tamper proof ICT infrastructure in the context of devolution. The Auditor General said service delivery in devolved units must not be affected when there is a connectivity breakdown at the national level.
Last week, National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) directed Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich to conduct an independent audit of the system and provide a detailed cost-benefit analysis on the same. PAC said Ifmis had not helped prevent misuse of public funds.