The final conference of a three-year EU-funded project “Improving Public Internal Financial Control in Bosnia and Herzegovina” took place on Wednesday, 18 May 2022 in Sarajevo. The aim of project was to contribute to the reform of public financial management in the process of EU accession, by enhancing capacities for the implementation of financial management and control in the public sector at all levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“The EU supports all efforts for strengthening the internal controls and the managerial accountability of the public sector organizations in BiH. Our assistance in the area of financial control not only ensures gradual alignment with the EU acquis, but also leads to more efficient and transparent public services for all BiH citizens. I strongly encourage top-level decision-makers to take advantage and start using the information in the risk registers in order to ensure a continuous risk assessment, optimize spending, discover opportunities for additional revenues, improve shared financial management responsibility between different levels of authority – all with the ultimate goal of better public services”, stated Jurgis Vilčinskas, the Acting Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The project supported the development and adoption of four Public Internal Financial Control – PIFC Strategies, and designed, developed and put in operation a PIFC application, which automated all PIFC regulations, including Risk Management and Internal Audit’ methodologies developed or updated in the course of project implementation.
“Thanks to the digitalization of these processes, we expect greater standardization and consistent application of the prescribed methodology, higher quality of work, more opportunities for data analysis and faster and more accessible reporting system for control systems, risks and results of internal audit in the public sector”, stated Fatima Obhođaš, the Chairwoman of the Coordination Board of the Central Harmonization Unit of BiH and Assistant Minister of Finance for the Central Harmonization Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance.
1931 public sector organisations are registered in the PIFC application, with some 800 designated Financial Management and Control Coordinators and 420 Internal Auditors. As a general overview, 654 Financial Management and Control Self-assessment reports were generated for 2021, including 133 Risk Registers.
This is the largest PIFC digitalisation on the Western Balkans aiming at efficient and timely risk management, strengthening of internal control and internal audit, conforming to the international internal audit standards.
“The results of this project confirm that the coordination of all levels of government in the reform process works well when supported by adequate EU assistance, especially with the engagement of responsible implementers and competent consultants on the project”, said Ranko Šakota, Director of the Central Harmonization Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.
Public Internal Financial Control (PIFC) is the framework established by the European Commission aimed at achieving sound financial management of public resources and EU funds. The project “Improving Public Internal Financial Control in BiH” started in October 2018 and was funded by the EU IPA funds in the amount of € 2,000,000. The project was implemented by a consortium of international companies, led by the ICE – International Consulting Expertise EEIG, from Belgium.