MoU Signed to Improve Public Financial Management in Baluchistan and FATA

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Pakistan (ACCA), the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP), Governance and Policy Project For Balochistan (GPP Balochistan) and Governance and Policy Project For Federally Administered Tribal Areas (GPP FATA). The MoU aims at working in collaboration to address the financial management skills gap that exists across the finance functions of the provincial government departments.

At the signing ceremony, the representatives from AGP, Balochistan and FATA government were present. The signatories included Mr. Imran Iqbal – Additional Auditor General of Pakistan, Mr Ahmed Taimoor Nasir – Director General HRM at AGP, Mr. Dawood Muhammad Bareach – Additional Chief Secretary, Balochistan, Mr. Akbar Hussain Durrani – Secretary Finance, Balochistan, Mr. Hazrat Masood Mian – Secretary Finance FATA and Mr. Muhammad Zahoor, Coordinator OSU, GPP FATA . Signatories from ACCA included Sajjeed Aslam, Head of ACCA Pakistan and Faisal Azeem, Head of Education North.

The signatories to this MoU recognise that joint collaboration to strengthen Public Financial Management (PFM) by improving the knowledge base of government employees through provision of a certified education program would be mutually beneficial. ACCA is well placed to help as it is the only international accounting body to have a presence in Pakistan for almost 20 years, with office in 6 cities primarily providing professional learning and career opportunities to young people and organisations in the public and private sectors. Under this MoU ACCA will provide pathways for individuals who have completed PFM Professional accreditation program (PAP) to top up with a globally recognised Professional Accounting qualification.

The World Bank will provide financial support for the project through The Multi Donors Trust Funds Pakistan. The World Bank  has initiated Governance and Policy Reforms Projects in Balochistan, and FATA with focus on Public Financial Management Skills enhancement. High-quality financial information in the public sector enables assessment of the impact of fiscal and monetary policy decisions; assists external reporting by governments to electorates, taxpayers, and investors; and aids internal management decisions in resource allocation (planning and budgeting), monitoring, and accountability.

“The AGP is very conscious of the rising trend of accountability and getting value for the public’s money. Having the right people with the right skills in the right jobs at the right time is fundamental to the architecture of creating a public financial management system that can be relied upon to provide public value services to the citizens of Pakistan and support the democratic process. Institutions are only as good as the people leading and running them and we are looking forward to working with ACCA, a credible organization that we have worked with before as well as the provincial project team leaders,” said Mr Imran Iqbal, the Additonal Auditor General Pakistan.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Head of ACCA Pakistan said, ‘Not only is there a skills gap in understanding and applying the universally accepted principles of financial and management accounting but there is also a gap in the understanding and application of locally accepted public sector financial management operating policies and methodologies. Respect for those working in public finance comes from their professionalism which is not a given anywhere in the world, one has to have strong leaders who are willing to invest in people to convert them into professionals i.e. those that have both the expertise and the ethics to do the right thing and stand up for policies and rules in the interest of the common man and woman.”

“I am really looking forward to initially working with the leadership of the AGP and provincial project team leaders in setting the scene if you like of what an achievable and recognized training and assessment looks like for current people working across provincial finance functions and later in diving deeper into ensuring a sustained talent management for recruitment and career development” Faisal Azeem Head of Education ACCA.