Press release: Plan condemned to failure

Comment on the Government’s Action plan for the implementation of the State Audit Institution’s recommendation

The Government has fulfilled the promise and adopted an Action plan for implementation of the recommendations of the State Audit Institution (SAI) at its session, held on November 29, 2012. Although the Government’ss attitude toward the recommendations of the SAI is commendable, the form in which the Action Plan was passed – without concretizing the SAI recommendations, without a carefully metered (real) terms, without specific details on relevant institutions (household activities) and without setting clear and measurable indicators of implementation of activities – indicates that the Government’s Action Plan is a dead letter.

The most important disadvantage of the Action Plan is the lack of specific indicators. Therefore it will be impossible to “measure” implementation and to give a clear image of what is done to comply with the Plan.

Recommendations and measures made by the SAI are mainly general. However, they were included in the Action Plan as such and they haven’t been elaborated, which would be a prerequisite to make progress in areas SAI designated as problematic.

Other disadvantages of the Action Plan include the fact that the most of the measures are not specifying entities that are competent to fulfill the recommendations, but the responsibility is divided on all consumer units. In certain recommendations the holder of measures or the competent institution haven’t been properly appointed. For specific recommendations, which fulfillment is apparently under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance, responsibility is divided to all spending units. In some places, many different SAI recommendations that imply different activities for its completion, the Government of Montenegro brought together under the same paragraph, the same competent institution and the same term.

For some recommendations which are systemically defined, concrete mechanisms for their implementation are not designed, nor a certain initiator of efforts for changing the steady state behavior is identified.

Also, given deadline is unrealistic – “Now” – for measures that obviously can be implemented only by next year, or which need some time for its implementation. This is especially confusing if we bear in mind a significant number of cases tending to correct recurring irregularities appearing in the SAI reports year after year.

The Government has not planned to fulfill one of the key recommendations of the SAI, which refers to the establishment of mechanisms by the Ministry of Finance in order to verify the submissions and consumer units. The system of monitoring the fulfillment of the Action Plan and the fulfillment of obligations of the Ministry of Finance to the Government and SAI reports on implementation of the recommendations has not been established.
All this points to a lack of Governments will to really tackle the identified problems, many of which are repeated in SAI annual reports in years. In a certain way the Government is in advance given an alibi for failure of fulfillment of recommendations or even “relaxed” attitude toward their fulfillment.

Bearing all this in mind, we call on the Government to return the Action Plan to be amended in order to correct all the deficiencies and to demonstrate a real willingness to implement the recommendations of SAI. We also recommend that consideration of this Action Plan should be the first item on the agenda of the new- formed Committee for Economy, Finance and Budget.

Look up the Government Action Plan of implementation of the recommendations of the State Audit Institution here.

Marko Sošić
Public Policy Researcher

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