Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 R4D Week: Our financial situation is healthy, says Chief Financial Officer

The institution is in a healthy and stable financial condition even in the face of the looming CGIAR reforms and the funding uncertainties accompanying it, IITA’s Chief Financial Officer, Shalewa Sholola, assured scientists in his presentation on the first day of the Planning week. He said in the 2009 financial year, IITA’s books were well balanced.

He told them that in 2011, which was going to be a transition year as many of the CRPs are not yet approved, the institute’s management was committed to ensuring that there would be minimal undue shocks and disruptions to their research activities and operations even the Institute braced itself to meet the excellent opportunities and challenges posed by the changes.

“However, this calls for us to operate more efficiently, to be more prudent by prioritizing our activities, and exploring ways to accomplish activities at minimal costs. We need to eliminate wastage by implementing best action plans and stringently use the precious unrestricted funds,” he said.

He called upon scientists to use well the available tools and systems on project management and budget monitoring, and regularly suggest ways to improve them. He assured them that the management was going to invest in new and existing tools and systems for better financial management and build the capacity of staff to use them.

He said the management team would also work to attract more restricted funds which will contribute to overhead costs and cost recovery and reduce any funding gaps.

He explained that under the new reforms, the funding would be based on performance contracts and agreements as well as multi-donor and multi-year funding, and unrestricted funding would cease. He said there were three windows of funding opportunities and four sources of funding for IITA.

“There will be funds allocated by the council, by the fund donors to the CRPs, and fund donors as institutional support which will be transitional for 2-3 years or so and lastly, the bilateral fund provided outside the funds framework to finance projects or activities under the CRP.

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