Case II: The role of leadership in ensuring financial integrity and accountability in fragile states

Concrete Results of HESPI Institutional Capacity Building in IGAD Countries

Case II

The role of leadership in ensuring financial integrity and accountability in fragile states

HESPI initiated several institution building interventions with senior officials and PFM leadership of Somalia and South Sudan governments. Members of the senior leadership from relevant committees of Parliaments, senior officials from the Ministries of Finance, and from the National Audit offices attended several skill and knowledge transfer seminars and other capacity building events.

Among the Public Finance Management (PFM) deficits and capacity gaps identified in the fragile states were weak budget formulation, lack of internal controls, and external audit scrutiny. Also, weak tax policy formulation and inadequate tax administration constrained fiscal management.  Accounting, procurement and reporting, weaknesses and low institutional capacity in all core areas of PFM were serious deficits.

Following such assessments, useful recommendations were developed, which aimed at alleviating capacity constraints and improving PFM.  Also, HESPI staff discussed with the authorities the areas of capacity gaps identified and consequently made multiple interventions to mitigate the PFM capacity deficiencies.

The first interventions were aimed at creating awareness on fiscal discipline and good governance. HESPI organized workshops for senior and middle level government officials to create awareness on the significance of sound PFM under the heading “Good Governance, Leadership and Institution building for senior government officials” and conducted training for Audit officials.  The participants in the high level seminars included Ministers, Auditor Generals, and top level civil servants of both countries. Over 100 representatives of the ministries responsible for PFM, the PAC of the national legislatures and other key officials of other government agencies participated in those events.

Important issues in rebuilding post-conflict nations were addressed, including the role of leadership in PFM in post-conflict countries, the role of leaders in state reconstruction, and the importance of good financial governance.  Also, sound management in post-conflict countries, experiences sharing from successful post-conflict countries in the sub-region; like Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia, and technical aspects and processes of rebuilding institutions were among the topics addressed. A range of lessons were drawn on how to establish and build effective institutions and useful recommendations made on how to ensure better leadership and governance in the process of institutions and nation building.

Moreover, on strengthening financial integrity, HESPI organised twining arrangements for audit experts from Somalia and South Sudan and provided them on-the-job training in the areas of Financial Audits, Internal Audit Processes, and Forensic Audits, with the Federal Auditor General of Ethiopia. The participants from the Audit Chamber of Somalia and South Sudan assessed the on-the-job training very useful.

HESPI also organized a seminar for Economic and Public Accounts Committees of the national legislatures of Somalia and South Sudan, which inspired the participants on owning a vision to enhance their oversight roles, responsibilities, mandates and methods of public resources scrutiny and oversight. The participants gained appreciation that conducting proper oversight to ensure effective and accountable utilization of public resources is the basis for enhancing recovery and sustainable development in the post-conflict situations.

Despite the insecurity and precarious situations of the post-conflict countries, the interventions of HESPI have moved the capacities of their PFM institutions to higher levels and created better sense of accountability. The adoption of the recommended policy options by the financial PFM units at the Ministries of Finance, the Central Banks, Parliamentary Committees, and the Audit departments have led to significant improvements.