Switzerland provides assistance to Serbia in better financial management

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Switzerland has ensured the continuation of support to municipalities and cities in Serbia in the management of public finances and supervision of public enterprises, the head of development cooperation of the Embassy of Switzerland in Serbia, Richard Kohli, said today at the final conference of the Reform of Local Finances 2 project in Serbia (RELOF2). He said that Switzerland, through the RELOF2 project, has been supporting local governments in Serbia for seven years in applying the principles of good governance, reports Beta.

“Our goal is for this support to contribute to efficiency and economy that will provide better services to citizens.” Considering the good results of the RELOF2 project, the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is continuing this project in order to better respond to the needs of citizens”, said Koli.

The director of the RELOF2 project, Ana Jolović, said that in the past period the project provided support for the improvement of public finances in 48 local self-governments, provided support and cooperated with four ministries, the National Academy for Public Administration and AP Vojvodina, all with the aim of supporting the reform of local public finances.

“Thanks to the support of RELOF2, 40 local governments have established a financial management and control system, 14 of them have established internal audit, five local governments and 27 indirect budget users are now using the new planning and control system developed within the project, financial management and control was established at 15 indirect budget beneficiaries, in three schools and four local public companies”, said Jolović.

She added that RELOF2 was a generator of new ideas and financing models, and that it designed a support program for improving energy efficiency through which 151 municipalities and cities and relevant ministries helped citizens to improve the energy efficiency of their households.

The project, together with the Ministry of Economy, developed software for the supervision of public enterprises, which today is the official state system of digitized planning and reporting of all public enterprises.

She assessed that local self-governments in Serbia are ready and willing to better manage public finances.

Establishing financial management and control for all users of public funds is part of the reform of public finances.

“Organizations in which there is a system of financial management and control know what is done by whom and when, who is responsible and which risks the management should pay the most attention to”, the announcement stated.

The establishment of internal financial control is a legal obligation of all users of public funds in Serbia and a prerequisite for closing Chapter 32 – financial supervision, upon accession to the EU.

All users of public funds, cities and municipalities, public companies, schools, kindergartens, libraries and the like have this legal obligation, regardless of the size and number of employees.

In the previous seven years, the RELOF2 project provided support to local self-governments and competent ministries in the application of the principles of good management, improvement of local public finances and supervision of public enterprises at the local level.

The assistance provided by the project included trainings, workshops, mentoring support, creation of manuals and Excel tools for the best possible implementation of those systems. The RELOF2 project is supported by the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Politika writes.