Date of Conferral
Fiscal reports have, since 2010, documented weak budget credibility in Sierra Leone public financial management noting that the government budget does not constitute a dependable framework for the planning, allocation and efficient use of the nation's resources. The purpose of this study was to develop a budgetary reform agenda and the research question that guided the study related to the reasons for the high monetary variances between the approved budget and the year-end financial reports. Government budgets and financial reports were reviewed for 2010-2014 and senior government officials were interviewed regarding the main stages of the annual budgetary process. The new public management model constituted the overarching conceptual foundation based on a qualitative case study of 7 government ministries and the House of Parliament. The baseline criteria for efficient government budgeting developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development served as the analytical framework from which four themes were established to analyze the planning, preparation, approval and the execution of the annual budget. The main finding was that the government's budget exhibited a lack of credibility given the significant variances between the budget and the actual outcomes; and the ineffective role of the legislature. As part of the financial management reforms needed, the government would have to rewrite the budget law and recruit experienced staff to strengthen the legislative budgetary function. These changes could contribute to the enhancement of value in the government's use of taxpayers' monies, causing improved economic and financial reporting and thereby promoting positive social change for the people of Sierra Leone.