This is the question that continues to be raised by the Comptrollers General of Finance, the Chief Financial Controllers, the Financial Controllers, the Chief Financial Auditors and the Financial Auditors, all of whom belong to the various ranks of this noble body, Various functions or simply working in other departments of the Ministry of Finance and Budget.
A legitimate and legal question, following the publication of Decree No. 16. 356 of 11 November 2016 appointing or confirming the officials and agents of the State to the Ministry of Finance and Budget. A decree whose provisions have simply repealed those of Decree No. 07. 273 of September 27, 2007 attaching this direction to the firm. A decree whose provisions strip it without any form of trial of its primary status, that of a control organ and thus enjoys the fullness of a power of independence and relegating it henceforth to the rank of a management and Submission, placed under the supervision of the Directorate-General for Budget.
This is called the ultimate of the improbable for any specialist or expert on budgetary matters and financial and accounting analyzes. It is the typical example of acts of low and stinking maneuvers of unnatural alliance between the supervisory body and the management body for purposes that are eminently contrary to the sacrosanct principle of their separation, enshrined and guaranteed by budgetary law. Acts that fundamentally undermine the rules of budgetary discipline, good governance and transparency to which public financial management is subject, and whose compliance is a measure of performance for development partners. These acts are such as to cast doubt on the will of the new authorities to translate into action the policy of the rupture so sung during the electoral campaign and on the basis of which President Touadera was brilliantly elected.
Yet, as part of the project to support the recovery of public finances in 2008, it was instructed to an expert, Mr. Rigobert Totin, Beninese nationality, a mission to evaluate the system of management control a priori , The exercise of financial control in the Central African Republic and the management of personnel. During his stay in Bangui and in the interior of the country, the expert met, under the authority of the Director of Financial Control, Jos Jonas Mamene – Mokosson, with the officials and agents of the State Under the direction of the financial control and exercising in the various departments of the central administration, in the delegations near the public or parapublic organizations of industrial or commercial character and close to the local authorities. At the end of its mission and in order to better define the functions and tasks with a view to better defining the posts and improving the organization of services and their performance on the one hand and in order to modernize the On the other hand, strong recommendations have been made after an uncompromising analysis of the major causes of the dysfunction of the current system of a priori control.
- Major causes of the dysfunction of the current systeme
A- The lapse of the legal and regulatory framework
* Law n ° 64/30 of 20 November 1964 on the powers, organization and functioning of financial control;
* Decree No. 72/288 of 24 August 1072 on the assignment of financial controllers seconded to public and parapublic organizations;
* Order n ° 125 of February 5, 1963, assigning delegations to local authorities.
It is indisputable from this report that the basic texts on the powers, organization and functioning of financial control in the Central African Republic date back to 1963. As such, their provisions and terms are inadequate with Socio-economic realities and can not be mentioned in order to support an opinion and to establish genuine budgetary control. Worse still, it is unacceptable that, under a parliamentary system, presidential instructions could be set up as a legal act at the level of local authorities (Cf / Presidential Instructions on the management of forest felling taxes) created by Law No 64 / 32 of 20 November 1964.
B- Absence of training and information of executives and agents
It is not uncommon to find that some credit managers are misdirected and do not comply with the credit specialty rule.
Similarly, some executives and agents in the Financial Control Department have no notion of public finance and specifically of financial control, but have been involved in it for years. In this dark picture of the quality of human resources, it is important to emphasize the decay of the premises and the notorious lack of material means.
C- The current practice of controlling State expenditure
The current exercise of prior control both at the level of the central administration and in the delegations can only be the obvious result of the first two causes of the dysfunction of our present system. The non – updating of fundamental texts to the socio – economic realities of the day and especially the lack of training and the lack of mastery of technicality have finally made financial control not an efficient and effective tool of control but rather an organ Of submission. Consequences: absence of unannounced checks and service checks, lack of monitoring of the correct accounting of commitments and liquidations at delegation level, lack of monitoring of the correct accounting of revenue Expenses incurred by local authorities with all the risks involved (misappropriation of public funds, parallel fees, overburdening of accounting entries, etc.), non-representativeness within the structures responsible for examining tenders and drawing up proposals The award of public contracts, etc.
- The modernization of the legal and regulatory framework
The emergence of new criteria in the audit of the management of public finances in developing countries requires updating the basic texts governing the organization and functioning of financial control in Rca in order to make it a real weapon of Effective deterrence against acts contrary to the defense of the interests of the State: Development aid; Good governance ; Audit. Hence proposals for new texts: Draft decree assigning powers, organization and operation of financial control in Rca; Draft decree fixing the modalities of application of the draft decree mentioned above; Draft order fixing the amount of contracts to be targeted by the delegates of the financial controller near the State institutions and the ministries.
- New structures and operation of financial control
The powers proposed by the new texts governing financial control are in line with the spirit of the old texts, which are already obsolete: A priori control over the budgetary, legal and financial regularity of expenditure operations in the general budget of the State, and local government budgets; Reasoned opinion on bills, credits, decrees, contracts and all acts subject to the approval or approval of the Minister of Finance and Budget. The first innovation of this updating of the fundamental texts will be the creation of a post of financial controller attached to the minister in replacement of the current direction of financial control and will participate in the restoration of the function of budgetary control.The Financial Controller, who has been relieved of the whole function of controlling staff expenditure which undermines its effectiveness, will henceforth be in charge of the control of government procurement and large government expenditure: receipt of purchase orders and contracts for operating expenditure , Equipment and investments; Visa for payment money orders; Visa for acts relating to the management of State personnel and administrative acts; Vis the operations of the subsidiary budgets. For its functioning, financial control will be characterized at central level by services under the supervision of a head of department responsible to the financial controller; The Administrative and Material Affairs Service (SAAM), the Studies and Regulatory Service (SER), and the Accounts Accounting Service (SCE) consisting of specific offices headed by heads of offices. But for reasons of efficiency and effectiveness, this function will be partially decentralized and will be translated into a strengthening of the power of delegates of the Financial Controller and their greater accountability. These « Delegates of the Financial Controller » shall be responsible for external services and located at State institutions, ministries, public or parapublic offices and local or provincial authorities, and shall be competent to perform fully their duties and shall not refer to the Controller Financial in case of dispute.
The computerization of all or part of the financial control seems inevitably to be the guarantee of the effectiveness of the reform whose purpose is to endow the Ministry of Finance and Budget with a modern control system very efficient. In this context, the mission recommended that every effort should be made to progressively introduce into the financial control of the computerized control system the administrative files of State officials and the accounting of commitments in the general budget of the State. At the level of the delegations, it was also proposed to improve their environment by acquiring the material means (calculators, typewriters, etc …), the rehabilitation of their premises or the construction of new buildings.
In order to fill the staffing gap in this structure, it was proposed to recruit 50 financial controllers and a training program on the concepts and principles of budgetary law, Financial Control « Definition and origin of administrative control » On-site and on-the-spot checks, procedures for controlling the execution of equipment expenditure by the CF at the central level and at the level of the CF Delegates, checking the material accounts of the controlled structures, maintaining stock records for managers, Books, newspapers, etc.
E- Preparation and Adoption of a Manual of Procedures
More than 8 years later, much effort was made in the regulatory field to adapt the texts governing the organization and functioning of financial control to the current socio-economic realities, but much remained to be done. That is why, in the aftermath of the return to constitutional order, following the brilliant election of President Touadera, the candidate of rupture, change and generational change, the professionals of this noble body naturally expected The continuation of this reform, the exploitation of the report of the Totin mission, financed by the EU, and its full and unconditional full implementation.
Unfortunately, great was their surprise to attend, helpless and death at heart, by the publication of Decree No. 16. 356 of 11 November 2016 to the outright assassination of all the efforts made and the relegation of the Financial Control Directorate to the rank of a management and submission body now placed under the supervision of the Directorate-General for Budget . A backward step which calls into question its independence, indispensable to the respect of the sacrosanct principles of the separation of powers between the management organ and the supervisory body, the discipline of budgetary orthodoxy, good governance and transparency. A terrible retreat, the responsibility of which rests with a group of friends, ignorant of the missions of control a priori devolved to the direction of the financial control, and the search for the posts for easy gains. A decline that is inadequate with the practices in this area and the reforms being carried out in some fraternal countries and friends and which can only hurt and disturb the various development partners.
Jean – Paul Naïba