Thursday, 28 November 2019 13:37

PEER LEARNING MISSION ON PUBLIC FINANCE MANAGEMENT: STEPS TO A CLEAN FINANCIAL AUDIT

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The Council of Governors held a learning forum with Governors, CECMs of Finance, Chief Officers of Finance/Economic Development and County Directors in charge of Planning and Budgeting, Finance, Revenue, Procurement, and Internal Audit, as well as County Directors in charge of Partnerships and/or Resource Mobilization on 4th -5th November in Nyandarua County on upholding accountability in public finance management with financial support by the World Bank. The learning drew from three perspectives, namely; the County Audit Process; the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Assessment and Open Government Partnership (OGD) Initiative.
Nyandarua and Makueni County were the first counties to ever get a clean audit report from the Office of the Auditor General and this platform was therefore important to enable them share their experience and what other Counties can borrow to be able to achieve the same.
Why addressing the delegates at the conference, HE Francis Kimemia, emphasized on the importance of ensuring that Counties learn from each other to improve service delivery and especially in management of public resources and enshrine in the supreme law of the land. “ The aim of this conference it to ensure that we all can share our difference experiences in management of public resources and ensure that they are effectivel, efficiently, ethically and lawfully utilized.” Said Governor Kimemia.
Participants also benefitted from insights from key stakeholders, including the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), the Office of the Controller of Budget, and the Office of the Auditor General. Others were the Institute of Economic Affairs, the World Bank, the NEPAD/APRM Kenya Secretariat, and a NEPAD/APRM/NPA Ugandan delegation from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
The PFM Peer Learning forum under the theme Upholding Accountability in Public Finance Management, was meant to guide structured improvement in public finance practices by County Governments, to improve PFM standards and increase the number of Counties that receive clean (unqualified) financial audit reports from the Auditor General.
Resolutions from the forum;
1. THAT prudent public finance management is the key determinant of a County’s overall performance, the County’s image and value for money in service delivery to citizens. In this regard, Counties shall progressively seek to improve PFM practices for improved service delivery and as part of corruption risk mitigation.
2. THAT Counties shall strengthen County Internal Audit Units by ensuring their independence, allocating a dedicated budget, adequate staffing with professional personnel and providing logistical support to facilitate the units to discharge their mandate effectively. In this regard, Counties shall also establish an effective mechanism for coordinating activities of Internal Auditors.
3. THAT Counties shall support/undertake structured capacity strengthening of Officers in charge of facilitating PFM in priority areas in collaboration with the National Government, other independent offices such as the Commission on Revenue Allocation, the Office of the Controller of Budget, the Kenya School of Government, local universities and Development Partners. In this regard, Counties will prioritize PFM capacity needs, including Internal Audit, procurement and IFMIS.
4. THAT as part of strengthening the capacity of Counties, County governments shall adopt supportive strategies, initiatives and innovations that strengthen governance and accountability in PFM. These may include but are not limited to implementing recommendations of audit reports, Open Procurement, digitization of financial records, County Peer Review Mechanism and supporting the scaling up of Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Assessments.
5. THAT Counties shall ensure PFM-related risk-mitigation measures during all forms of transitions, to minimize vulnerability of PFM systems and processes to abuse.
6. THAT County governments shall set aside adequate funds for implementing initiatives that seek to improve PFM in counties.
7. THAT Individual Counties shall make reference to the report of the PFM Learning Forum held in Nyandarua County to support implementation of the recommendations in this Communiqué.
8. THAT the PFM Peer Learning Forum for County Governments should be convened at least once in a financial year to provide a platform for sharing information, lessons, new knowledge and strategies for continuous improvement in County Financial Audit and IFMIS, among others.
9. THAT the Council of Governors will convene a high-level meeting to deliberate on how to support Counties to improve PFM in view of the recommendations herein.

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