The Program Management Unit (PMU)

Description of the PMU

The MOA is enhancing its capacity to carry out large scale agricultural development projects, especially those funded by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and other partners, to improve production, storage, marketing and exports, and to sustain the country’s economic growth and food security.

The Program Management Unit (PMU) is a major component of the ongoing MOA reform and restructuring. The PMU creates a sustainable capacity within the MOA to facilitate the development of project administration and procurement skills through actual experiential “learning by doing” involvement which in turn will improve individual skills to provide momentum for efficient and effective project development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, as well as resource generation and utilization.

The PMU is a transitional vehicle to build the capacity in the MOA to continue and sustain improved project administration and sustainable decentralization. It enables the MOA to be responsible for its internal resource management reform process, with facilitation provided by the MOF as well as the IFIs, donors and other partners through oversight, guidance and monitoring to ensure that project management and financial management reforms are implemented consistently.

The goal of the PMU is to provide project management and project coordinate to effectively and efficiently support and sustain the GOL agriculture development strategy. The main aim of establishing the PMU is to ensure the efficient functioning of the institutional formal structure set up for aid coordination (harmonization and alignment process) and Official Development Assistance (ODA) management and coordination within the MOA. The PMU is the umbrella for all activities related to harmonization, alignment and improvement of aid effectiveness.

The PMU facilitates and oversees the implementation of agriculture projects in line with approved agriculture policies and procedures of the GOL, the IFIs and other partners. As the facilitator for project implementation in the MOA, the functions of the PMU include: a) Aid Coordination, b) Program Management, c) Investments and Procurement Coordination, and d) Capacity Building.

Reporting Structure of the PMU

Minister of Agriculture: the Minister of Agriculture exercises overall authority, administration and control of the PMU programs and projects through the Deputy Minister for Planning and Development.

Program Steering Committee (PSC): is the avenue for top-level policy directions, advice and guidance to ensure that MOA project management is consistent with GOL priorities and investments in the agriculture sector. Its responsibilities are limited to and are focused on:

  1. (a) Analytical discussions of/for providing alternative recommendations on top-level issues and concerns relative to agriculture and fisheries programs and projects administration that fall within the ambit of the PMU mandated functions;
  2. (b) Ensuring that top-level decisions are harmonized with international financial institutions and donors as well as GOL agricultural assistance (loans, credits, grants) goals and objectives, and are carried out and reported by the PMU Director during PSC regular or special meetings. PSC meetings shall be conducted in the most transparent manner possible.
  3. (c)  Reviewing and approving the PMU budget.
  4. (d) The PSC should avoid duplicating the functions and day-to-day management and operations of the PMU. Its main responsibility is to “steer” policy and not to “row”.
  5. (e) Membership of the PSC shall be: Minister of Agriculture or designee (Chairman), Minister of Finance or designee (Co-Chairman), all the Deputy Ministers of Agriculture (Members), and could include members designated from the Ministries of Public Works; Land, Mines and Energy; Commerce and Industry; Gender and Development. Other members could be designated from the Central Bank of Liberia, National Investment Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Cooperative Development Agency,  LPMC), Farmers Association, Liberia Chambers of Commerce, Association of Commercial Banks, and Association of Microfinance Institutions.  The PMU Director shall serve as non-member Secretary.

PMU Director: coordinates all MOA agricultural project implementation and is fully responsible for the day-to-day management of the PMU in liaison with and guided by the Technical Advisory Team (TAT). The responsibilities of the PMU Director include, but not limited to:

  1. (a) Coordinate and supervise all PMU activities in liaison with the ADWG and the GOL.
  2. (b) Organize and conduct program management meetings, as well as assisting the PSC, including providing all information required by the SC and acting as the Secretary for the PSC
  3. (c)  Coordinate the recruitment of technical assistants and specialists to fill all PMT positions, as well as the recruitment of short-term technical assistants/advisors and other service providers required for implementing projects.
  4. (d) Appraise PMU technical staff on a regular basis on their individual job performance.
  5. (e) Ensure effective supervision of contracted service providers.
  6. (f)  With the assistance and guidance of the Procurement Specialist, take full responsibility for procurement of goods and services in PMU and project implementation. Approve contracts for all transactions undertaken by all projects in accordance with IFI and donor procedures, as well as GOL procedures where applicable.
  7. (g) As the head of the PMT, coordinate and supervise the activities of all Implementing Partners, in particular NGOs and Consultant/Technical Service Providers (TSP) to ensure effective delivery of PMU program services. Collaborate with partners, including the private sector, in value chain development.
  8. (h) Ensure effective planning and execution of PMU and project activities as per the appraisal report and grant agreements.
  9. (i)   Prepare Annual Work Plans and Budgets (AWPB) and Procurement Plans for approval by the PSC, and ensure submission to IFIs and donors for approval by May 31 of each year.
  10. (j)   Authorize the subsequent release of funds for agreed activities and ensure timely and appropriate reporting on progress and problems of program implementation, including quarterly and annual progress reports, a mid-term review report, audit reports and a project completion report in accordance with agreed reporting formats.
  11. (k) Coordinate and fully participate in the activities of all development bank supervision missions with all national stakeholders, including prior in-country arrangements for the proper participation of the stakeholders in the mission activities.
  12. (l)   Undertake any other activities to ensure smooth and effective implementation of all programs.
  13. (m)        Approve the appointment of all PMU and PIU Staff, subject to the Civil Service and donor or IFI rules and regulations, and ensure merit-based recruitment, selection, promotion and other Staff actions.
  14. (n) Approve all official travel, participation in local or international training and organized capacity building activities and Staff movements to project sites in the counties and districts, subject to the appropriate guidelines.
  15. (o)  Conduct M&E and prepare and submit progress reports on project implementation, including management issues and concerns, to the Minister, donors, IFI and other relevant offices, within the period specified by the Minister and donor/IFI.

Technical Advisory Team (TAT): The PMU Director is assisted by a technical advisory expert team. These consultants are funded initially through the AIDP until June 2014.  Thereafter, they shall be funded proportionately by funds pulled from all IFIs and donors involved in the agriculture development projects under the ambit of the PMU.  The TAT is responsible for:

  1. (a) Transfer of knowledge, skills and capacity to staff in the PMU, PIUs, MOA and/or line positions so as to sustain long term capacity.
  2. (b) Each TAT Advisor will be responsible for building technical capacities through mentoring, coaching or training the PMU Director, PIU Officers, County level staff, and other MOA Staff working on project administration, project management, communications, monitoring and evaluation, reporting, financial management, procurement, and other fields.
  3. (c)  These experts also provide technical advice to the PMU Director, PIU Officers, County level staff, and other MOA Staff in their particular line of expertise.
  4. (d) Composition of TAT: the TAT comprises the following expertise:
    •       Project Coordination Advisor (1)
    •       Financial Management Advisor (1)
    •       Procurement Advisor (1)

The PMU is divided into two levels – PMU and PIU levels as follows:

  1. (a) The PMU level is the Program Management level comprising the PMU Director, Project Coordinators and Specialists as well as Advisors and Consultants.
  2. (b) The PIU level is the Project Implementation level comprising of project staff both at the PIU and County level.
  3. (c)  Projects are grouped by donors and/or projects with similar objectives into separate PIUs each headed by a Project Coordinator.
  4. (d) Currently, there are 5 PIUs:
    •        AfDB PIU for both the AfDB funded ASRP and SAPEC
    •        IFAD PIU for both IFAD funded ASRP and STCRSP
    •        WB PIU #1 for the World Bank funded STCRSP
    •        WB PIU #2 for the World Bank funded WAAPP-1c
    •        CCAAP PIU for the UNDP funded Climate Change project.
  5. (e) There is also a Food Security and Nutrition Unit annexed to the PMU and headed by an Executive Director, reporting directly to the PMU Director.
  6. (f)   Apart from the Advisors, all staff of the PMU and PIUs will be directly hired, seconded or designated staff from the MOA or elsewhere, as required, and will be responsible for providing day-to-day technical, operational, and administrative services.

Technical Staff of the PMU: Technical staff at the PMU level includes all the Project Coordinators and Specialists with brief responsibilities as follows:

(a) Project Coordinators:

  1. AfDB PIU Project Coordinator: coordinates and manages the AfDB funded ASRP and SAPEC and staff, and reports to the PMU Director.
  2. IFAD PIU Project Coordinator: coordinates and manages the IFAD funded ASRP and STCRSP and staff, and reports to the PMU Director.
  3. WB STCRSP PIU Project Coordinator: coordinates and manages project activities and staff of the World Bank funded STCRSP, and reports to the PMU Director.
  4. WB WAAPP PIU Project Coordinator: coordinates and manages all project activities and staff of the World Bank funded WAAPP-1c and reports to the PMU Director.
  5. CCAAP PIU Project Coordinator: coordinates and manages the UNDP funded Climate Change and staff, and reports to the PMU Director.
  6. FSN Unit Executive Director: manages the affairs of the FSN Unit and staff, and report to the PMU Director.

(b) Each Project Coordinator receives advice from the Technical Advisory Team and is responsible for:

  1. Submitting recommendations to the PMU Director on procurement of goods, works and services;
  2. Supervising PIU / Unit staff on the performance of assigned functions and responsibilities;
  3. Monitoring and evaluation of project implementation progress including financial performance (control of obligations, fund utilization and disbursements and ensuring effective accountability mechanisms);
  4. Preparing and submitting work progress and financial reports for approval by the PMU Director and submission to the IFIs/donors, to the MOA and to the MOF; and
  5. Ensuring the timely, effective and efficient project implementation at county levels.

(c) Specialists:

  1. M&E Specialist: serves as assistant PMU Director and responsible for all project M&E activities and supervises all M&E staff of the PIUs and reports to the PMU Director as well as the Program Coordination Advisor.
  2. AIDP Coordinator: coordinates all activities of the AIDP within the PMU, serves as liaison between the PMU and IIU of MPW and PFMU of MOF, and reports to the PMU Director as well as the Project Coordinating Advisor.
  3. Financial Management Specialist: responsible for all project financial management activities and supervises all Accounting staff of the PIUs and reports to the PMU Director as well as the Financial Management Advisor.
  4. Procurement Specialist: responsible for all project procurement activities and supervises all procurement staff of the PIUs and reports to the PMU Director as well as the Procurement Advisor.
  5. Gender & Development Specialist: ensures that participatory gender awareness and community-based approaches are mainstreamed throughout all project activities and structures, through analysis, capacity building, monitoring, advocacy and networking in target communities, and advising operating units on awareness of and action on gender and community issues.  The G&DS reports to the PMU Director as well as the Program Coordinating Advisor.
  6. Human Resource Specialist: responsible for all HR activities of the PMU/PIUs and reports to the PMU Director as well as the Program Coordinating Advisor.
  7. Irrigation/Rural Infrastructure Engineering Specialist: responsible for all irrigation and rural infrastructure engineering activities relating to the Program. The IIES reports to the PMU Director as well as the Program Coordinating Advisor.
  8. IT Specialist: responsible for all IT activities of the PMU/PIUs and reports to the PMU Director as well as the Program Coordinating Advisor.

As depicted in the PMU Organization Chart, PMU coordination includes, but not limited to:

(a) Coordination with MOA Departments: the PMU shall closely coordinate and establish direct work linkages and relationships with MOA staff departments to provide administrative and technical support services in its day-to-day operations, which include:

  1. Department of Administration (DA): 1) Competitive merit-based recruitment, selection, appointment, placement, training, performance planning and assessment, pay and grading levels and other HRM-related tasks covered by Civil Service Rules and Regulations; and 2) Financial management tasks such as resource allocation, budgeting, accounting, bookkeeping and accounts, internal control, accountability monitoring, evaluation and reporting, procurement and asset management, other general service tasks as well as general public expenditure management concerns in accordance with existing accounting, auditing, budgeting and management rules and regulations.
  2. Department of Research and Extension (DRE): coordination with the DRE is important particularly during the implementation of projects at the county and district levels.
  3. Department of Planning and Development (DPD): coordination facilitates collaborative monitoring and evaluation of PMU supervised projects so as to facilitate an overall perspective over MOA agricultural project investments.
  4. Department of Technical Services (DTS): coordination with the DTS is important particularly for research and technical agriculture activities.

(b) Coordination with the MOF – Whenever necessary and in order to attain consistent, appropriate and effective PMU administrative and financial management, it will be necessary for the PMU Director to liaise with the MOF. This will ensure adequate and proper reconciliation of procedures and guidelines, especially on procurement of goods, works and services, M&E, reporting, internal control systems and project reviews and assessments.

(c) Coordination with the MPEA: The PMU will regularly coordinate with the MPEA on matters pertaining to public investment planning and programming and M&E responsibilities and other matters relating to MOF functional jurisdiction.

(d) Coordination with the LISGIS: The PMU will establish coordination mechanisms for sharing statistical information on project administration, especially with the LISGIS which is the repository of data on GOL program results.

(e) Coordination with the MPW: Whenever necessary during the project planning and implementation stages, the PMU Director, Project Coordinator and County Agriculture Coordinators (CACs) should collaborate and cooperate with the MPW on projects requiring public works and infrastructure assistance/approval (building agricultural access roads, etc.) for coordinated governmental effort towards developing the agriculture sector.

(f) Coordination with Other M&As: As required, appropriate coordination mechanisms will be established with other line ministries and agencies on various common concerns relating to PMU operations and project implementation.

(g) Coordination with County and District Agriculture Offices: Operational management and control of county and district agriculture projects requires the supervision and control by the Project Coordinators. A delineation of decision-making and reporting relationships must be maintained. The PMU Director shall define the areas and means of coordination with the local agriculture offices at the county and district levels. This will be in line with the decentralization plan of the MOA.

(h) Coordination with NGOs, Community Leaders and Agriculture Sector Investors – The PMU will also coordinate with the NGOs, community leaders and other interested groups to ensure their cooperation and participation in areas of common concern such as the delivery of goods and services needed for effective, efficient and economical project implementation at all project sites.