African Organisation of English-speaking Supreme Audit Institutions

Webinar: PFM & Domestic Resource Mobilisation in times of COVID-19 pandemic

On Tuesday, 2 June 2020 from 15:30 to 16:30 (CAT), AFROSAI-E and the GIZ Good Financial Governance in Africa Programme, will jointly host a Webinar on “PFM & Domestic Resource Mobilisation in times of COVID-19 pandemic.”  

The Webinar will focus on the role Public Finance Management (PFM) systems and tax regimes can play in enabling African governments’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout. The Webinar aims to bring together Pan-African Public Finance network partners, championing public financial management in the continent (covering revenue, budget, external audit and legislative oversight), GIZ and the International Budget Partnership (IBP).

Participants can join by clicking on the Webinar link: Join Microsoft Teams Meeting  and actively participating in the webinar discussion. We look forward to the opportunity to exchange insights amongst specialists based on your respective institutions’ experience and expertise on this critical topic.

Step-by-step manual for participants to join the webinar.

Background on the discussion topic

Deliberating adequate strategies for governments in Africa to ready their PFM systems and tax regimes for the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic

The novel coronavirus pandemic has put government systems across the world under stress. With no time to prepare, governments face the urgent need to prepare emergency response packages to support the economy and strengthen essential public services in key sectors, such as health care. In Germany, the USA, South Africa and several countries worldwide, governments have already introduced broad and costly measures, making use of budget reallocations and taking up new debts and pledges from multilateral agencies including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. As a result, significant fiscal space is required to enable governments’ timely responses. Such fiscal space is rarely available in developing countries or emerging economies. Consequently, a variety of measures will need to be pursued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similarly, such emergency measures require flexibility from PFM systems. Internal controls may have to be reoriented, authorities redelegated, while not impairing the controls in place. Moreover, efficient cash and liquidity management is paramount to ensure governments’ readiness. Likewise, efficient and accountable procurement mechanisms are vital in safeguarding that essential equipment is being procured and provided to affected communities.

Financial reporting needs to be done diligently, for those budget lines which were created ad-hoc for the COVID-19 response. This is necessary to enable timely audits of emergency transactions (e.g. real time health audits by SAI Sierra Leone in response to the 2014 Ebola crisis) by governments to provide assurance that funds are used for the purposes intended, support affected communities and are used efficiently.

In addition, revenue mobilisation is another area of concern for governments. In some countries, e.g. South Africa, nation-wide lockdowns have brought the economy to a (partial) standstill, resulting in steep decline of state revenues. Likewise, governments’ response packages and economic stimuli focused on the introduction of new relief schemes to cushion the population at individual and corporate levels.

The GIZ GFG in Africa Programme’s Pan-African partner networks ATAF, CABRI, AFROSAI (including language subgroups, CREFIAF and AFROSAI-E) and AFROPAC, strengthen their members capacities around public financial management, and domestic revenue mobilisation. Members to the networks are PFM institutions from most African countries. Consequently, they are in an ideal position to advise their members on adequate responses to the current circumstances. Promoting their crosscutting PFM expertise contributes to establishing these public finance networks increasingly as think tanks and technical assistance providers to their members.