In Georgia: Streamlining Public Finances
March 5, 2014
State financial numbers just got more accurate and easier to access in Georgia, thanks to support from the World Bank and other development partners. For example, Georgia’s Treasury now encourages organizations to file and pay electronically. Not very long ago, long queues of employees would wait to file everything via paper.
“Nowadays, there is literally no need for hard copies as everything is implemented through electronic services,” says Nino Chelishvili, the deputy head of the State Treasury. That means information is now easily searchable.
Nowadays ... everything is implemented through electronic services.
State Finances Touch all Georgians
All those who handle state finances, from budget planning to its execution and public procurement, were involved in modernizing the system. One of the first tasks was a thorough accounting of the budget and state finances. “The introduction of accounting standards is important not only for ensuring that country has full statistical data,” explains Chelishvili, “but also for providing information on the financial data existing in our country to international donor organizations and private investors in a language that they understand.”
Another part of the project knitted different government agencies together via a new computer network. Regional offices of the Ministry of Finance, the National Bank of Georgia, and the State Audit Service are now linked to better share information. Some staff members and offices got new computers and more powerful servers.
Devi Vepkhvadze, the deputy head of the Audit Service, is proud of the changes. “We can safely say that nowadays the State Audit Service carries out its activities in full accordance with international standards and it is one of the worthy members of the large family called INTOSAI (the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions, an independent umbrella group),” he says.
A number of study tours took place over the past two years. Budget specialists exchanged ideas and experiences with experts from other countries. Most useful were those from countries that faced the same problems 10 or 15 years ago. In February 2012, finance experts from 10 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia visited Georgia for the Public Expenditure Management Peer Assisted Learning (PEMPAL) Treasury Community of Practice workshop.
Earlier, the 7th Regional Public Procurement Forum - Putting Public Procurement into Practice: Procurement without Corruption, brought together 50 participants, including 26 senior government officials responsible for public procurement in 11 countries (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, FYR Macedonia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Georgia, and Uzbekistan), and representatives from the ADB, EBRD, Islamic Development Bank, USAID, GIZ, and the World Bank.
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