Completion of the Twining Project "Strengthening Capacities of the State Audit Institution"

18 March 2015.
Completion of the Twining Project "Strengthening Capacities of the State Audit Institution"

The State Audit Institution marked today the completion of the Twinning Project "Strengthening Capacities of the State Audit Institution of the Republic of Serbia", funded by the European Union with 1.4 million Euros. During the event, it was stated that taxpayers in all EU member states and candidate countries have the right to be informed on how their money is spent.

The 29-month long Twining Project has been realized by the State Audit Institution, in cooperation with the Netherlands Court of Audit and Office of Auditor General of the United Kingdom, with participation of experts from the Slovenian Court of Audit and Swedish National Audit Office. Goal of the project was to increase accountability and effective management of public funds in Serbia, as well as to strengthen capacities of the State Audit Institution.

Mr. Radoslav Sretenović, President of the State Audit Institution and Auditor General, stated that the project "had come" at the right time, during the first decade of the Institution's operations. "I am pleased with the project, for the goal was achieved - it has strengthened our capacities, knowledge and skills. All of the above will contribute to our strategic course and priority, which translates into high-quality audits", Mr. Sretenović said. He added that the project included four components: legal framework, organizational development, audit enhancement and stakeholder engagement. He highlighted that total of 82 experts and 3 study tour visits were realized during the project life.

Also, 11 pilot audits were implemented, in order to test new methodology - nine pilot audits regarding financial statements audits and compliance audits, and two pilot performance audits.

Mr. Veroljub Arsić, Vice-President of the National Assembly and the Chairman of the Committee for Finance, Republic Budget and Control of Public Funds' Spending, emphasized that exchange of experiences with supreme audit institutions that had conducted audits for longer time was very important to the State Audit Institution.

"It is very important that the Assembly reviews audit reports, because they show how budget beneficiaries manage public funds", Mr. Arsić said.

Mr. Kees Vendrik, Vice-President of the Netherlands Court of Audit, said that the Twinning Project was implemented in a crucial moment for both, the State Audit Institution and Serbia in general, because Serbia aspires to become part of the European family.

Taxpayers in all EU member states and candidate countries have the right to be informed on how their money is spent, and they have the right to be shown value-for-money, Mr. Vendrik said.

Mr. Oscar Benedict, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Serbia, said that the State Audit institution was a guarantor that public funds are spent properly.

"For that reason, European Commission pays specific emphasis on independence, professionalism and capacity of the Institution", Mr. Benedict said.

H.E. Mr. Laurent Stokvis, Ambassador of the Netherlands, said that helping the State Audit Institution means helping democracy in Serbia, for public funds must be spent with accountability and transparency.

H.E. Mr. Denis Keefe, Ambassador of the United Kingdom, added that the State Audit Institution was a pillar of European and modern Serbia.

State Audit institution has made considerable progress. However, in order to eradicate corruption, it is necessary to do a lot more, Mr. Keefe concluded.

Mr. André van Ommeren, Project leader from the Netherlands Court of Audit, assessed that the Twinning Project, implemented with the State Audit Institution, was one of the best ever implemented by the Court.

Mr. David Goldsworthy, Project Leader from the National Audit Office of UK, highlighted that the State Audit institution demonstrated willingness to develop itself through implementation of the project.

Mr. Brord Van Westing, Twining Project Resident Advisor, who lived in Serbia during the project life, expressed gratitude to colleagues from the Institution for welcoming and supporting him. After ceremonial speeches, specific project results were presented per components.

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