Government’s effort in centralising the payment system to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) is making “tremendous progress”.
The process mainly includes implementation of the Financial Management Information System (FMIS) project which will cost about $3 million.
MFEM’s treasury operations manager Teu Teulilo said the Project Management Unit (PMU) led by Mii Lemalu had been hard at work ensuring that they deliver the highest quality product for the government.
Once fully implemented the centralised FMIS platform would move all payment functions from government agencies to MFEM.
“This can improve governance, timely access to financial information, better financial management and transparency across government. These expected improvements will also help to reduce the backlog of whole of government consolidated audited accounts,” Teulilo said.
To date, the planning, design and build phases of the project have been successfully completed, he said.
“The current activity, the User Acceptance Testing (UAT), is for the key central agency (MFEM) to test the full functionality of the system with test data,” Teulilo said.
“This is the first opportunity for operational staff to test and confirm if the system that has been designed meets the expectation of Cook Islands government.
“It is also an opportunity to provide feedback to the PMU on what works and what doesn’t so that necessary adjustments can be made.”
Training activities held throughout last month, served as groundwork for the PMU who are responsible for delivering training, not only to MFEM staff, but to the rest of the government agencies, Teulilo said.
“The project implementation plan is for a phased Go-Live approach, which means not all government agencies will be operational at the same time. MFEM will be the first agency to be using the system by July, 2019 with the rest of the government agencies to be added with an expected time frame of three years.”
In 2017, Cook Islands government announced it would invest $3 million in 2018 and 2019 to procure and implement a centralised database system for ministries and agencies across government.
Agilyx New Zealand was awarded the tender for supply and implementation of the FMIS which is a Unit4 business system.
The project is supported and partially funded by the New Zealand government.
Wellington funded the software cost of about $300,000 as well as around $1.5 million in implementation costs.
The Cook Islands government committed to an investment in project management and training unit (one project manager and four staff) which adds up to $1 million from 2017-2019.
Finance minister Mark Brown has said it was the single most significant step forward in public financial management in the past 20 years.
Brown also said the FMIS brought the Cook Islands government to the forefront of financial management technology