EU to boost Kosovo's financial management

Brussels, 20 July, 2006 – European Agency for Reconstruction aims to keep budgets and books tight from the start, as province heads towards independence

The European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR) is trying to boost financial discipline in the public services of Kosovo, teaching budgeting management and drafting skills to civil servants.

The aim is to keep budgets and books tight from the start, so there are fewer messes to clear up later by the province’s government accounting and audit teams.

Ken Schwartz, USAID’s resident advisor to the Kosovo finance ministry, said the 2m euro programme would help the preparation of future budgets and the implementation of a new Public Financial Management Accountability law.

‘This project has been very valuable,’ he said. ‘It has been the lifeblood of Kosovo’s medium-term expenditure framework.’

The EU agency’s initiative aims to train all officials involved in public investment planning in every budget-holding state organisation across the would-be independent province.

Over the past year-and-a-half, more than 750 bureaucrats have been trained, many of them finance officers, some of whom already have accounting qualifications. Project trainers are also producing a manual for budgeting officers.

Programme manager Nadia Costantini told Accountancy Age: ‘We are teaching them skills more sophisticated than just reading a balance sheet; areas such as cost benefit analysis’.

The programme will be handed over from the EAR to the Kosovo finance ministry in January.

Keith Nuthall, Accountancy Age 19 Jul 2006