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FEATURE STORY

Anticorruption initiative strengthens surveillance over public finances

August 13, 2012


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Dominican Republic Congress: the fight against corruption brings about not only political but also social progress.

World Bank

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The citizens will have access to the government budget with the help of a new user-friendly website.
  • The new guidelines for government contracts were suggested by working groups.
  • The initiative sets out new evaluation standards for government officers.

An initiative launched by the Government to root out corruption and strengthen financial oversight shows remarkable progress after 2 years. Carried out between June 2010 and February 2012, the project allowed for:

  • Specific actions to be taken on establishing a Single Treasury Account as a pilot in nine Ministries;
  • The implementation of a user-friendly citizen’s portal to access government budget and finances;
  • A streamlining at the country’s National Procurement Agency.

The Participatory Initiative Against Corruption, known by its acronym IPAC, was launched by President Leonel Fernandez to define a governance and anticorruption strategy and identify actions to accomplish the strategy. It brought together over 350 representatives from key government agencies, civil society, private sector and 14 development partners, including the World Bank. It yielded 30 recommendations by 10 working groups and specific implementation actions.

The World Bank helped working groups to formulate and develop recommendations for reforms in two critical sectors: procurement and public financial management – among others – and steps to implement the recommendations.

In public financial management, recommendations included increased visibility for government budgets, implementation of Single Treasury Accounts and a Common Assessment Framework, and improved inter-agency coordination.

In the procurement arena, working groups proposed improvements to the nation’s procurement portal, and enhanced social monitoring mechanisms. The groups also suggested new compliance guidelines for government contracts, among other proposals.

As long as corruption persists in the Dominican Republic fighting poverty and inequality will become harder. The IPAC Observatory established by 14 civil society organizations, conducted a monitoring report in February, 2012 revealing progress on 20 out of the 30 recommended reforms. However, for IPAC or any other initiatives to fight against corruption, the country will need a stronger commitment from its authorities, social and political sectors, as well as a sustainability plan by the nation as a whole.


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