Concrete Results of HESPI Institutional Capacity Building in IGAD Countries
Financial Integrity Institutional Building in Somalia and South Sudan
The Fragile States of Somalia and South Sudan experienced prolonged insecurity and conflicts that adversely affected institutional capacity in these countries. The wartime corruption carried-over and constrained rebuilding and stability. Improving financial transparency and accountability is key to increase state legitimacy and trust between citizens and the state in these post conflict situations.
HESPI, therefore, focused its work in these post-conflict countries since 2012 mainly on improving the Public Finance Management (PFM) towards ultimately ensuring financial integrity. The Institute accordingly strengthened budget planning and formulation, budget execution and controls, and monitoring of the use of public resources. Technical Assistances (TAs) has been provided in budget processes and implementation, upgrading of legal framework, hands-on technical training, twining arrangements, and experience sharing visits with countries with advanced PFM. The Institute also supported the rebuilding of the financial system, and the institutions responsible for government oversite.
In the process, HESPI realized that developing the laws and the tools were not enough in such contexts, but creating capacities to enforce them was critically important. Hence, training was conducted for more than 330 government officials (28% female) from financial integrity institutions (Ministries of economic planning and finance; the auditor general, and central banks). The candidates passed through stringent selection criteria verifying their technical capability and qualification, commitment and interest with the state building endeavor and determination to remain in the officials’ career paths. This was to counter the futile effect of the inherent high turn-over in volatile fragile state situations. The Institute registered good results despite low commitment of some high officials to improve PFM and combat corruption.
Generally, the cumulative support HESPI delivered on PFM helped the target countries to develop strengthened legal framework and institutional structures, which are essential first steps in sound public budget planning and execution. The training exposed the participants to useful tools and technical requirements of sound PFM, and in particular the accountability and transparency essentials. It also helped the participants to value the core mandates, responsibilities and methods of delivering on effective and efficient PFM and fiscal risks.
In terms of gauging the success of HESPI efforts, recent feedback from the participants of a training conducted for public finance officials on “FISCAL TRANSPARENCY AND EFFECTIVE PUBLIC BUDGET MANAGEMENT” complimentary. The feedback received on intermediate results from the participants indicated that:
- Public budget planning after the training has been credible, transparent and inclusive; as it involved different stakeholders like Parliamentarians, civil society representatives, advocacy groups, and academia (through public hearing and information access).
- There is commitment to full implementation of the annual budgets approved by the legislature. The level of appropriation in accordance with the legislature approval, cash management by adoption of a Treasury Single Account (for central control); enforcement of proper procedures of procurement, which underpin and ensure transparency; and accountability of purchases are being realized and improved.
- There is a systematic move to monitor budget performance and value for money by the financial integrity institutions, and to make monitoring as an integral part of the budget execution. The feedback also indicated that monitoring would be done through production of credible annual progress reports, and monthly posting on line of revenue and expenditure outcomes. The external scrutiny through the legislature (mainly the relevant Committees of the Parliaments) have also started to play initial oversight role.