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EU announces commencement of public finance reform projects

Mar 3, 2015, 9:59 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

According to a press release sent yesterday to The Point newspaper, Mme Agnes Guillaud, Charges d’ Affaires of the European Union Delegation to The Gambia, is pleased to announce the commencement of further support by the EU to the implementation of Public Financial Management (PFM) reforms in public procurement in The Gambia.

The release further indicated that the specific objectives of the new programme are to review the legal and regulatory framework; support improvement of Gambia public procurement authority capacity in order to strengthen monitoring and controls; and revise procedures.

Funded by the EU, the new programme commenced on 26 January 2015 and will end in December 2016.

The release further stated that the contractor is a UK company WYG. WYG as a specialist in Public Financial Management has been working with the Government of The Gambia since 2002 on various programmes including budget, treasury, accounting and audit reforms.

According to the release, the project is part of the wider EU-funded governance programme in The Gambia of E10 million (equivalent to GMD 500 million), which includes access to justice and legal education; journalism and the media, and public financial management.

The release further stated that the overall EU support to the public financial management reforms started in 2012 by supporting the introduction of the VAT and a medium Term Budget framework.

A Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment was also financed and contracted in 2014 with the objectives to identify strengths and weaknesses in the government of The Gambia PFM system at the central government level, it added.

Short-term expertise had been hired by the EU to cover from September 2014 to March 2015 to provide a firm base for further procurement reform in The Gambia, stated the release.

The recently arrived long-term technical assistance team consists of team leader Mr Olivier Barnouin, who is a procurement expert, and Mr John Auma, who serves as training advisor.

The consultants are working closely with GPPA in facilitating the training workshops in the country, on the revision of procurement regulations and standard bidding documents and the provision of advice to ensure a smooth transition, the release stated.

A kick-off meeting on 26 February 2015 served as part of the hand-over between the EU-funded short- and long-term procurement consultancy teams.

According to EU programme officer Josselin Amalfi, the project in support of the procurement reform in The Gambia is a component of the governance programme funded by the EU.

He said a total budget of EURO 10 million is available for the implementation of the governance programme in The Gambia, which is equivalent to D500 million.

“This action is contributing to the public financial management reform in The Gambia,” she said, adding it will be implemented over 25 months, from September 2014 to January 2017.

Throughout this period, the EU support to the public procurement reforms would carry out its specific objectives.