Government to re-propose the adoption of the Law on the Final Account of the Budget

The forgotten SAI’s recommendations

Last year was the first one in which the Law on the Final Account of the Budget was not adopted and the first in more than a decade in which the Parliament did not adopt recommendations of the State Audit Institution (SAI) as its conclusions and obliged the Government to its implementation and reporting.

The proposals of the acts submitted by the previous Government to the previous convocation of the Parliament have been archived, and among them was the Proposal of the Law on the Final Account of the Budget for 2019. 

The report on the audit of the final account, which the State Audit Institution submitted to the Parliament in mid-October 2020 is far more important than the discussion on the final account, which is a review of budget execution. MPs must discuss this report, in accordance with the current practice and adopt the SAI’s recommendations as their conclusions and oblige the new Government to correct the shortcomings of the previous one.

SAI gave a negative opinion on the way the budget was managed in 2019, from the aspect of compliance with the law, with a diversion of attention in the part of a financial audit. SAI has given 44 recommendations to the Government on how to fix the identified problems, which is twice as many as in the audit of the previous final account. It is a good practice for the Parliament to adopt these recommendations as its conclusions, thus strengthening their obligation to the Government to report on its implementation.

We call on the Government to re-propose the adoption of the Law on the Final Account of the Budget, and the Parliament to discuss the Report on the audit of the final account as soon as possible. Moreover, the Parliament should adopt conclusions that will oblige the Government to correct major systemic problems identified by SAI.

The important conclusion that the Parliament must adopt this time is about the quality and structure of Action plan for implementation of SAI’s recommendations. The former Government reported on the fulfilment of SAI’s recommendations superficially and through a formally made Action plan, continuing the bad tradition which we criticised earlier. It is necessary for the new Government to prepare an Action plan for the implementation of SAI’s recommendations, which will finally have clear deadlines, defines specific actions to be taken, indicators that will measure whether something has been implemented and precisely defined stakeholders. In addition to new recommendations, an integral part of this plan are the unfilled recommendations from the previous year (two thirds of the total number), which must not be forgotten.

Marko Sošić
Public Policy Researcher

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