SA welcomes UK funding for public sector

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

South Africa on Tuesday officially welcomed the United Kingdom’s £2.2 million funding towards capacity building in the public sector.

“The funding of £2.2 million that has now been secured from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) will further strengthen the implantation of the Capacity Development Strategy (CDS),” said National Treasury’s acting Accountant General Zanele Mxunyelwa on Tuesday.

Speaking at the National Treasury and European Union (EU) ceremony to welcome the UK as a partner of the Financial Management Improvement Programme III (FMIP), Mxunyelwa said the country welcomes the partnership.

Speaking to SAnews at the ceremony held in Tshwane, Chief Director of Capacity Building at National Treasury Mark Kuipers said the funding was secured three months ago.

Mxunyelwa said the continuous capacity building programme in public finance in South Africa, commonly referred to as FMIP III, is a programme that was instituted in 2012 between the National Treasury of South Africa and the EU to build capacity in South Africa, with the aim of addressing challenges such as a lack of public financial management (PFM) qualifications. 

“There should be transparent and efficient use of public resources,” said Mxunyelwa, adding that such challenges hamper inclusive growth and service delivery.

FMIP III, which comes to an end in May 2018, builds on the work done by its predecessors, Financial Improvement Programme 1 and 2. FMIP III and the previous programmes focused on providing technical support facilities.

All three programmes have been managed in the office of the Accountant General in cooperation with various government departments and development institutions. The programmes have been funded by the EU, which has been making significant contributions to strengthen PFM capacity in South Africa. Mxunyelwa described the partnership with the EU, which has extended over 23 years, as an incredible one.

He said the funding from the UK will be used for critical capacity building initiatives, including monitoring and evaluation, revenue management and infrastructure procurement.

“The [UK] contribution will go a long way in efforts to build an inclusive economy and the delivery of basic services to communities,” said Mxunyelwa.

She said the South African government has been investing considerably in building PFM capacity in government with its own resources but that this was not enough, hence the move to draw extensively on technical assistance or funding from international development platforms.

“The South Africa envisioned in our Constitution and by citizens of our country includes economic transformation, inclusive growth and efficient public service delivery which all require good and sound public financing management,” Mxunyelwa said.

Decision to support FMIP

British High Commissioner Nigel Casey said the decision to become involved in the programme was due to the fact that the UK, like South Africa, faces acute pressure on its public finances.

“Costs are rising all the time but no one is really keen on increased taxes. So sound public financial management is essential for efficient and effective service delivery, poverty reduction and inclusive growth. It is crucial for fiscal consolidation and maintaining fiscal discipline,“ said Casey.

The High Commissioner said solid partnerships characterise the relationship between the UK and South Africa. -

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