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October 13, 2010

The Western African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Publishes the Implementation Guides of the 2009 Public Financial Management Directives

Posted by Guilhem Blondy, Bacari Kone (both from the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF), and Benoit Taiclet (Resident Advisor at the IMF's Regional Technical Assistance Center, AFRITAC West)

The Implementation Guides of five out of the six directives on a Harmonized Public Financial Management (PFM) Framework adopted in March and June 2009 were published by the WAEMU Commission on its website on October 5, 2010.

The five 2009 directives prepared with the support of the Fiscal Affairs (FAD) and the Statistics (STA) Departments of the IMF concern respectively the budget laws, government accounting, budget classifications, the central government chart of accounts (COA), and the central government operations summary table (TOFE). No implementation guide was required for the sixth directive on transparency in PFM. The directives foresee the progressive implementation of new PFM techniques to be completed by 2019 (for more details, see the blog published by Bacari Kone on September 25, 2009.) The provisions of the directives should be transposed in national law by each member state by December 31, 2011.

To facilitate the transposition and implementation of the directives by the Member States, the production of implementation guides was included in the Support Program for the Reforms of the Harmonized PFM Framework adopted by the Commission in December 2009.

This task was coordinated by the WAEMU Commission and was completed thanks to the exemplary cooperation between the multilateral technical and financial partners: World Bank, IMF Regional Center for West Africa (AFRITAC West), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The guides explain the main changes introduced in the directives, especially the implementation of a Treasury Single Account (TSA) at the Central Bank of West African States (scheduled for 2012), the delegation of the power to order payments to line ministries, medium-term, program, and performance budgeting (2017), accrual accounting (2019), etc.

The guides on the directives concerning budget laws, government accounting, and budget classifications include a presentation of the objectives of the directive, a comment article by article, and a glossary.

To take into account the technical nature of their topics, the guides on the COA and on the TOFE have a specific structure:

  • The guide on the central government COA includes two volumes. The first volume describes the conceptual framework and accounting standards, which are inspired by the accounting system of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA), but adapted to the government specificities. The second volume describes the main transactions recorded on each account.
  • The guide on the TOFE presents the ways to record transactions according to the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 (that inspired the 2009 directive) and underscores the main practical challenges for their implementation, and especially differences with the 1986 directive (that inspired the previous directive).

The publication of these five guides is a first important step to increase ownership of the 2009 directives by the WAEMU member states. The next challenges will be the development of a network of professionals from the various member states, the implementation of trainings at the regional level, the assistance to the transposition of the directives in national legislations and regulations, the creation of a reform observatory and support to the transition of the national systems.

The directives, the December 2009 Support Program for the Reforms of the Harmonized Public Financial Management Framework, and the implementation guides are available at:  http://www.uemoa.int/FinancesPubliques/Financespubliques.htm.

Note: The posts on the IMF PFM Blog should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy.

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