During the week of September 30 – October 3, Financial Services Volunteer Corps (FSVC) conducted a successful workshop in Luanda, Angola, with 32 representatives from the Angolan Parliament, the National Court of Accounts, the Ministry of Finance and the Civil Society Organization (CSO) Group for Budget Participation. The activity is part of USAID/Southern Africa’s Strengthening Anti-Corruption Efforts Project in Angola with the objective of supporting public financial management and fiscal transparency. The workshop was organized to improve the coordination and oversight techniques among the four institutions responsible for matters related to budget management. To ensure the effective management of public resources, branches of government and public oversight institutions must work together to ensure that expenditure practices are in agreement with budgeted targets and objectives. Without this collaboration and oversight, the public is unable to hold government institutions accountable for revenues and expenditures, creating the potential for financial mismanagement and corruption. FSVC organized this workshop to improve the coordination between government oversight institutions and CSOs.
During the workshop, FSVC volunteer experts, Mr. Francisco Moledo (Audit Manager of the National Court of Accounts in Portugal), and Mr. Ricardo Bulgari (former President of CONFAZ-M / PR – Council of Municipal Finance Organs of Paraná, Brazil) guided participants through the critical and complementary roles and responsibilities Parliament and other government institutions play in the oversight of the budget. The experts also addressed how to better coordinate their actions to strengthen the accountability gap in the management of the state budget. The importance of data accuracy when reporting the state’s budget was also covered. In this area, FSVC volunteer experts showed examples of inaccurate and inconsistent figures reported in the audited budget reports for 2014 and moderated a group discussion on how to avoid similar inaccuracies in future budgets. Throughout the workshop, presentations and hands-on exercises were used to ensure full understanding of the concepts discussed. These exercises included the preparation of presentations to a mock International Monetary Fund panel on the country’s budget procedures, preparation, execution, and audit mechanisms. These exercises were used to highlight the importance of coordination and communication between the three government institutions and CSOs on important and strategic matters.
Other relevant topics covered during the workshop included the importance of adhering to international best practices in fiscal transparency and the importance of coordinating the country’s efforts in both the legislative and executive branches to ensure that Angola complies with the requirements of international donors. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants resolved to create a WhatsApp group to increase communication between the four institutions for the next budget cycle.