Rigorous international assessment of the quality of management of the Argentine government’s “COVID expenditures”

President Alberto Fernandez, Minister of Economy, Martin Guzman, and Fernanda Raverta, President of Anses, who have distributed funds from IFE, the main COVID-19 aid programme.

According to an international report published in Washington, USA, the management of funds allocated by the Argentine government to address the COVID-19 emergency leaves much to be desired., for him “International Budget Partnership, (IPB, which can be translated as ‘International Budget Alliance’) which studied how 120 countries in the world saved and managed a total of US$14 trillion (millions of millions) of dollars with which they responded to the problem.

As for the Argentine case, toThe IBP has set its sights on Federal Income Emergency (IFE) and ATP programs. The result is a jeweler. According to the study, the Argentine government was biased in terms of information about aid plans, the level of vigilance about the use of funds was “little,” and the transparency with which it was available was “little” and accountability “limited.”

Some conclusions

Of the 120 countries surveyed, the main finding of our research is that governments have failed to manage their fiscal policy response to the crisis in a transparent and responsible manner. One of the report’s conclusions says that more than two-thirds of the governments we analyzed, across many regions and income levels, provided limited or minimal levels of accountability in delivering and implementing early fiscal policy responses.

Taking into account the information provided, the level of vigilance and transparency in the use of funds and the quality of accountability, The report put the 120 countries surveyed on a 5-level scale of the quality of COVID money management: significant, adequate, some, limited, and minimal.

The color map on the quality of COVID money management.  In green, the four countries that did an action "Appropriate", in the ocher of those who are satisfied "Some" Requirements, in pink those that were the quality of their management "Limited" And in purple was the quality and transparency of the administrationشفاف "minimum"
The color map on the quality of COVID money management. In green, the four countries that did “appropriate” work, in ocher manner, those that met “some” requirements, in pink those whose quality of management was “limited” and in purple those whose quality and transparency of management was “little”

No country received a “significant” rating and only 4 countries received a management quality rating of “adequate”: Australia, the Philippines, Norway and Peru. Another 29 countries, mostly “advanced”, placed in the medium category “some” quality or observation. There are many European countries, the United States, and Japan, but there are also emerging or less developed countries such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

In the penultimate step, with a “limited” quality of management and accountability, Argentina appears alongside 54 other countries, including China and Russia, mostly underdeveloped countries in Africa (Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Uganda) and Asia (Afghanistan, Armenia, Georgia, and Kazakhstan) ) and Latin America (Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico and Nicaragua) as well as some developed countries such as Spain and South Korea.

In the last step, and with the lowest quality, there are 32 countries, from Albania and Saudi Arabia (a kingdom controlled by a dynasty) to Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

It is important that governments report on how they are implementing to help them, as failure to do so hampers efforts to hold governments accountable for the effectiveness of their response to the crisis

However, it should be borne in mind that Argentina gets the lowest rating in two of the four aspects evaluated: “minimal” information and vigilance about aid plans.

to assess the case of Argentina, The International Budget Partnership chose IFE and ATP for being the two largest programs in terms of their impact on public spending, to the extent that IFE, which it identified, accounted for three-quarters of social spending while ATP represented nearly two-thirds of aid to the private sector, and together they accounted for 51% of the amounts distributed with the impact on budget.

President Alberto Fernandez, in Rome, with Kristalina Georgieva, who personally recommended those governments "Save receipts" of covid spending
President Alberto Fernandez, in Rome, with Kristalina Georgieva, who has personally recommended that governments “keep receipts” of Covid spending

According to the report, it is primarily important for governments to communicate how their aid is being implemented because failure to do so “hampers efforts to hold governments accountable for the effectiveness of their response to the crisis.” According to the report, about half of the governments surveyed published little or no information on actual spending, financing and performance compared to what was expected, very few ensured access to adequate levels of information, and transparency was “particularly weak when reporting on the impact of policies on different categories of recipients.” “.

What is more, Nearly two-thirds of the 120 countries provided “very limited information on the introduction and use of simplified procurement procedures related to the epidemic,” making it difficult to assess value for money in the purchase of medical equipment or other goods and services.. Worse, only one in four countries has submitted and published audit reports in a timely manner, to truly verify how coronavirus spending is being used.

As examples of good practice, the report cites the cases of Australia and Bangladesh, which have “published extensive reports detailing the implementation of specific policy measures and their impact on various disadvantaged groups, including women, the elderly, children and those living in poverty.” Other examples include the US Pandemic Watch website, Including a Money Tracking tab, with lots of categorized information about response programs Peru is highlighted by a joint government-civil society working group, “Mesa de Concertación para la Lucha contre la Pobreza (MCLCP)”, which has published a report analyzing the impact of the government’s response to COVID on different groups, as well as an open data portal in which The Peruvian government constantly updates the progress of program implementation.

Update, Audit, Engage Congress and Keep Receipts

Responding in an open and responsible manner is not only a way for governments to show they care about the plight of their citizens, but also to reap some of the benefits of financial openness, from reducing corruption risks to ensuring more equitable and effective outcomes, the report’s authors wrote. They added that transparency and accountability mechanisms are essential “to ensure that the enormous resources that are mobilized are not wasted”.

The report makes 5 explicit recommendations in this regard.

1- Publishing monthly progress reports on implementation Policy (or regularly update implementation information on web portals), including data and analysis on budget implementation and performance, categorized by impact on disadvantaged groups, including women and girls.

2- Disclosure of all details related to purchase contracts linked to emergency expenses, whenever possible In open formats.

3 – Provide resources for SAIs to conduct rapid audits on emergency spending programs and ensure that governments take corrective action in response to audit findings.

4- Restoring the role of legislative bodies as guardians of the public treasuryThis includes approving expenditures, consulting with the public and stakeholders, monitoring policy implementation, and following up on audit findings.

5- Establishing appropriate mechanisms for citizen participation In the formulation, adoption and implementation of additional emergency fiscal policy packages. These may include mechanisms used by executive and legislative authorities and oversight bodies.

Finally, the report recalls the request made by the International Monetary Fund, prompted by anti-corruption activists, with the voice of its director, Kristalina GeorgievaTo its 198 members: “Do whatever it takes, but save the receipts.”

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