US forces improving ANSF funds management
KABUL (PAN): US forces in Afghanistan on Thursday appreciated the Special Investigator General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR)’s acknowledgement that their processes of managing US direct assistance and international donor funds continue to improve and mature.
In a statement, the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) said a recent audit by SIGAR found that CSTC-A had taken steps to mitigate financial management weaknesses identified at the Afghan ministries of interior and defence and improve its oversight of direct assistance funds.
“CSTC-A appreciates SIGAR’s acknowledgement that its processes for managing US direct assistance and international donor funds continue to improve, mature, and evolve as the capabilities of the Afghan government increase.”
The statement said CSTC-A had improved accounting practices, expanded budgetary controls for the execution of funds, set goals for execution rates, and conducted risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities in the ministries of finance, defence and interior for financial management systems and capabilities.
To provide a broader view of capabilities and risks within the ministries, CSTC-A significantly increased its budgetary controls this year through the Commitment Letters signed with the three Afghan ministries.
“These agreements enhance transparency, accountability and oversight of international donations by requiring the implementation of transparency measures such as published spending plans, contractor vetting and audits.”
The statement said the Afghan government had also committed to implementing wider use of automated financial, military pay, and procurement systems to increase accuracy and timeliness of financial and accounting transactions.
“Finally, the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) agreed to participate in training programmes to correct deficiencies and build ministerial capabilities. These actions ensure risk assessments are complete and safeguards are in place before CSTC-A provides direct assistance funds to GIRoA.”
To sustain long-term growth and development of the financial management functions in GIRoA, CSTC-A continues to work with the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank to implement electronic financial management systems that improve accuracy and visibility of donor funds while reducing the risk of misappropriation, and improving overall transparency.
CSTC-A’s ministerial advising model has also evolved from an individual office-based approach, to a holistic advisory model that measures the effectiveness and performance of the system within each ministry.
This transition allows training, advising, and assistance activities to be tailored to better support the entire financial process.
US Forces-Afghanistan and CSTC-A remain committed to being stewards of US taxpayer and international donor funds. While working to develop the professionalism and expertise in the ministries, USFOR-A and CSTC-A will continue to adjust processes in order to curb risks and prevent fraud, waste and abuse.
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