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Court of Accounts: 5 bln lei worth of government expenditures for fighting pandemic, as of June 30

Curtea de Conturi

Government expenditures from the state budget, local budgets and the unemployment insurance budget for the fight of the coronavirus pandemic amounted to 5 billion lei as of June 30, the Court of Accounts said in a release on Tuesday.

The supreme audit institution finalised and submitted to Parliament the special report on the management of public resources during the state of emergency, a document based on an ample control conducted over May - July 2020 at 949 entities from the central and local public administration. More than 700 external public auditors were mobilized in the effort to efficiently and quickly respond to Parliament's request.

Of the 5 billion lei spent, payments for the allowances granted during the suspension of the individual employment contract at the employer's initiative account for 73 percent (3.69 billion lei), allowances to other categories of personnel whose activities were interrupted or were severely slowed down represent 13 percent (662 million lei), and spending with emergency medical stocks represents 5.3 percent (266 million lei). The rest of the funds were allocations for the risk incentive and other expenses specific to the emergency period.

Donations and sponsorships in cash or in kind received by the public institutions add to the public expenditures with preventing and fighting the pandemic. Thus, the entities audited by the Court of Accounts received and registered 214.7 million lei (44.4 million euros) in donations and sponsorships.

The financial impact estimated by the auditors following the control actions is composed of additional revenues, damages and financial accounting variations, so that the additional revenues amount to an estimated 647,000 lei. The estimated financial accounting variations in the verification period stand at 659 million lei, while the damages are 38.3 million lei.

The document also presents examples of best practices by public entities that have optimally managed the available resources during the state of emergency.

"The Romanian Court of Accounts, in its capacity as the supreme audit institution, is set to provide an objective analysis of how public resources have been managed during the state of emergency and to support public institutions in creating effective response mechanisms. The report is the result of a sustained effort of all Court structures, which take into account the context, the inherent restrictions brought about by the pandemic, from the adjustment of the annual plan of action to the adaptation of the working conditions, which required physical distancing," said Court of Accounts president Mihai Busuioc, cited in the release.

He added that in all its actions, the institution sought to not compromise joint public response efforts to the Covid-19 crisis.

"We want the recommendations included in the report to represent an opportunity for the authorities to improve crisis-specific procedures, with a direct impact on public money management," Busuioc said.

The selection criterion of the audited entities were the allocations from the central and local budgets for the management of the state of emergency, respectively the amounts used, by financing sources and destinations.

Thus, those authorities were selected that received significant amounts from these budgets, but also those that received additional responsibilities and powers during the period of emergency. The procurements specific to the emergency situation, by type and value, were also a major selection criterion.

The special report on the management of public resources during the state of emergency can be consulted on the website of the Court of Accounts.

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