December 04, 2012

Transforming Internal Audit in East Africa

Posted by Onesmus Ayaya, George Mang’oka and Jesse W Hughes

The IMF’s Regional Technical Assistance Center for East Africa organized a workshop for government internal auditors from the region[1] in Nairobi, Kenya, from November 6-9, 2012.

PEFA diagnostic assessment results and external audit reports indicate that reforms of internal audit (IA) have lagged behind. The workshop discussed modalities of strengthening internal audit in relation to the various themes: the legal mandate for IA, the governance structure, coordination with public sector integrity institutions, participation in the work of professional bodies, the contribution to the control environment, and capacity building. The main issues are summarized below.

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October 31, 2012

The End of Ex-ante Audits? Belgium Takes a Leap Towards Westminster

Posted by Lewis Kabayiza Murara

Uncommon to countries applying the Westminster model of external auditing, the practice of ex-ante audits is not so rare to those following the Napoleonic (or judicial) model of public sector auditing. The Spanish world has also long known the practice of pre-expenditure audits, sometimes by multiple institutions. Ex-ante audits in their most common form mean that the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) is responsible for checking and giving prior approval to certain types of public expenditure.

In countries following the Westminster model, the auditor role may in some cases be combined with that of comptroller, and authorization to spend may be released before payments are made by budget entities. In countries applying the Napoleonic model of external auditing, particularly Belgium, Italy, Portugal and some of their former colonies, it is common for SAIs to issue prior approval before individual payments are made. The difference between the pre-approval practice in the Napoleonic model and the comptroller role in the Westminster model is that the former is a transaction-based, detailed review of certain types of expenditure, while the latter is performed at a higher, aggregate level which does not involve detailed reviews of individual expenditure items. Authorization may involve approval of funds release from the consolidated fund to departmental accounts for a certain period, per expenditure type.

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September 14, 2012

Recent Meetings of the PEMPAL Network in Europe and Central Asia

Posted by Deanna Aubrey, PEMPAL PFM Adviser

The three ‘communities of practice’ of budget, treasury, and internal audit of the Public Expenditure Management Peer Assisted Learning (PEMPAL) network had a series of meetings in the first six months of 2012. PEMPAL covers up to 22 governments in the Europe and Central Asia region and brings practitioners together regularly to discuss common priority issues in PFM reform. PEMPAL is supported by the World Bank, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Russian Federation, and OECD SIGMA.

Members of Treasury Community of Practice (TCoP) gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia from February 27-29. Treasury experts from 10 countries met to learn more about Georgia’s PFM reforms implemented by the State Treasury Service, who co-hosted the meeting. The workshop was an opportunity to exchange experiences in modernizing national treasury systems particularly related to issues of integration of external financing. Participants also had the opportunity to visit the customs clearance zone of the Ministry of Finance in Lilo district in Tbilisi as an example of modernization public services through information technology. More information can be found at and in IMF’s PFM blog at

Fifty-seven participants from Ministries of Finance from 18 ECA countries from Budget Community of Practice (BCOP) met in Bohinj, Slovenia on March 27-29 to exchange experiences in program budgeting as part of the Budget Community of Practice (BCOP) work program. Country cases of France, Australia, Poland, and Slovenia were showcased and reform progress shared by Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Armenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most PEMPAL member countries have implemented elements of program budgeting including defining and identifying programs, formulating program objectives, and selecting performance information. However, the quality of performance information remains generally poor, is in many cases not systematically monitored, and has limited influence on budget decision making. Countries acknowledge that the reform process is long and ongoing and are planning on exchanging information and meeting more on this topic in the future. More information can be found at and in IMF’s PFM blog at

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June 06, 2012

The Independence of Supreme Audit Institutions: Celebrated in New York, But Often Ignored Back Home

Posted by Guilhem Blondy

On December 22, 2011 the 66th United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution "Promoting the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration by strengthening supreme audit institutions." 

The General Assembly recognizes that SAIs can accomplish their tasks objectively and effectively only if they are independent of the audited entity and are protected against outside influence, as well as the important role of SAIs in promoting the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration, which is conducive to the achievement of national development objectives and priorities.

The UN General Assembly also takes note with appreciation of the work of International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), and encourages Member States to apply the principles set out in its Lima and Mexico declarations.

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