Opening ceremony of the “Advancing accountability mechanisms in public finances” programmeApr 7, 2014
UNDP in Serbia, in cooperation with Government of the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish International Development Agency), State Audit Institutions of the Republic of Serbia and Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities has presented, at the press conference in UNDP premises, the “Advancing accountability mechanisms in public finances” programme.
“Accountable and transparent management of public finance in Serbia is today, as in many other countries in the region, very important topic having in mind an increase in public debt and budget deficit in recent years. The citizens are increasingly concerned over how the public funds are used. They would like to see transparent and accountable management of public funds and the government that makes right choices. As our work in UNDP is guided by national needs and priorities, and strives to develop national capacities we will continue to support the Government of the Republic of Serbia in its willingness and commitment in solving these problems”, said Irena Vojackova-Sollorano.
The Swedish Ambassador to Serbia, Mr. Christer Asp said that the Government of Sweden has been providing financial support for various development projects in Serbia, and by doing so, Sweden became the third largest bilateral donor to Serbia.
The Swedish Government has recently adopted a new strategy for the extension of the programme of support to Serbia for seven years. Mr. Asp added that the improvement of public finances and better use of public funds is crucial for the administrative reform and enhancing the fight against corruption. When asked what should be done to reduce the public debt in Serbia, the Ambassador Asp said that it’s up to the Government of Serbia to decide which expenditure needs to be reduced. Swedish government will continue to provide adequate support in creating transparent and accountable finances, which is important, having in mind that Serbia will become a member of the EU in a few years. "We can provide the tools and this programme is one of many, but it is up to Serbian government to prioritize its reforms", said Mr. Christer Asp.
The President of the State Audit Institution (SAI), Mr. Radoslav Sretenovic said that the budget allocated for the SAI is 471,000 dollars. “The funds will be used for certification of the state auditors, for the analysis of existing laws in this area and for the development of methodology for the audit of political parties”, stressed Sretenovic during the ceremonial event, where the agreement on the implementation of the programme was officially signed. He also added that the acquisition of licenses for special software is foreseen by the programme as well, that will be further used for audit data. Also, the Sector for audit of the local governments is planning to organize workshops in municipalities and towns across Serbia, in order to educate employees in the area of public finances. "We plan to cooperate with future members of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly, in order to acquaint them with responsibilities and scope of work of the SAI and assist them in" reading "and using the audit reports," said Mr. Sretenovic.
He pointed out that programmes like this will enable sectoral approach that will improve audit mechanisms necessary for the efficient management of public finances in Serbia.
“Advancing accountability mechanisms in public finances” is a two-year programmme implemented by national partners with the support from UNDP. The program is financed by the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden. The total budget is USD 2,328,318.
More about the programme can be found here.