Online workshop „Audit of COVID-19 related expenditures“ organized by SIGMA

Podgorica, 15th December 2020 – At the initiative of the international organization SIGMA, online workshop was held for the supreme audit institutions of the members of the Network of the EU candidate and potential candidate countries and European court of auditors in area of planning and conducting audit of COVID-19 related expenditures.

The representatives of the State audit institution led by the president of Senate PhD Milan Dabović and member of Senate Zoran Jelić have spoken about the impact of COVID-19 on the public finance in Montenegro, as well as about the future plans in auditing funds for combating this pandemic. President of Senate, in its opening remarks has stated that the pandemic in Montenegro, as in the world had a significant impact on the lives of citizens and has caused decrease of the budget revenues in relation to the previous year, i.e. the need for fiscal adjustment by increasing the needs of the health system. Taking into account the impact and consequences caused by the corona virus pandemic, the State audit institution has emphasized the importance of managing and spending funds during a pandemic caused by COVID-19 and in this regard, the Instruction for annual audit planning has planned audits of spending these funds.

The workshop has highlighted the importance of the role of the supreme audit institutions in recognizing the challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic and that the role of the supreme audit institutions to support pragmatic, flexible approach that provides answers and promotes accountability and flexibility necessary for maintaining confidence in the public policy and institutions.

Apart from the supreme audit institutions of the members of the Network, at the online workshop have participated the high officials of the European commission, Mr Florian Hauser from Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement negotiations and Mr Salvador Bertomeu Hernandez from Directorate General for Budget. European Union has launched a support package of €3.3 billion for the Western Balkans to address the socioeconomic consequences of the corona virus. The support package provided immediate help through €38 million to procure medical equipment and set up a long term Economic and Investment plan for the region’s recovery. The EU reallocated €389 million from the IPA (Instrument for Pre-Accession) funding to address the immediate effect of the economic crisis and mobilized €455 million for an economic reactivation package for the region in close cooperation with the International Financial Institutions. The EU also proposed a €750 million macro-financial assistance package for the Western Balkans and a €1.7 billion package of assistance from the European Investment Bank.

In addition to this workshop, SIGMA will, at the beginning of the next year organize two workshops that will be dedicated to exchange of the experiences and support to the supreme audit institutions of the Network in delivering effective audits in COVID 19 world as well as conducting performance audits and compliance audits of the programs designed to reduce the pandemic.