The COVID pandemic has caused an unprecedented international crisis forcing all governments around the world to put in place emergency strategies to deal with this health situation which affects all sectors of the global economy.
Consequently, all the development aid activities and objectives implemented through current and planned projects funded by the various international donors had to be reviewed.
Faced with this situation, Linpico was able to react and adapt its support to donors and governments by developing 4 main strategies:
1. Emergency repatriation of experts:
Linpico has deployed its resources at headquarters to find the quickest solutions for modifying the experts’ return flights, revising their contracts accordingly and favouring contract extensions with donors and clients in order to adapt deadlines to be completed through remote work;
2. Remotely continuing activities already underway:
• Maintaining communication amongst our permanent staff and with our various repatriated experts and confined clients around the world, by email, via Whatsapp, Skype, or Microsoft Team;
• By implementing hygiene and distancing measures (supply of masks, hydroalcoholic gel, soap, cleaning of toilets, etc.) for projects still underway.
• Ensuring the sharing of larger data and the simultaneous online work of Linpico experts and backstopping staff members via tools such as Sentspace or Dropbox;
• Organizing videoconferences with the various ministries and donors involved in our projects and maintaining the implementation of the training workshops initially provided for by our contracts at a distance, via tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Team and with dynamic presentations on Power Point and Visio;
3. Modifying the ToR’s for current projects:
Linpico has also worked in concert with donors, clients and teams of experts to propose adaptations to the objectives and services initially planned for the containment situation, but also for the economic consequences of this crisis;
4. Encouraging a gradual return to work in the field:
Ensuring optimal health security conditions, in particular by offering the teams training on health standards.
Hereafter some relevant examples, where these various measures have been implemented within Linpico’s projects:
Technical Assistance to the Court of Audit of the Central African Republic: The training initially planned at the Court of Audit has been partially maintained (although the training of part time experts has been suspended) and carried out in conformity with the strict sanitary measures in place: restrictions to the number of participants (splitting into two groups to reduce the number of people present), respecting social distancing, availability of soap and the wearing of masks.
Tax Administration Efficiency Improvement and Public Expense Management (PEM) Program in the Dominican Republic – Business Process Re-engineering for the Integrated Financial Management Information System:
The team has been providing all the required services from home, communicating and working together online through Outlook, Whatsapp, Skype, Dropbox and Sendspace, Zoom and Microsoft Team.
These culminated in a virtual meeting with the Minister of Finance, his main advisers and some Managing Directors, where the new proposed processes were approved .
The Minister of Finance’s reaction was very positive, giving us an hour and a half of his time. This shows the importance that he assigned to our work and its practical results for its management. He asked that we continue to accompany him in this last stage to deliver everything planned and with the quality with which he has worked so far. He suggested that we extend the project to deliver everything virtually, as it will not be possible to travel before the deadline for presenting the final report and training.
Support for the Establishment and Running of a Unit responsible for implementing the Government’s PFM reform programme :
Due to the health crisis triggered by COVID-19 and its effects upon Paraguay’s economy, the Ministry of Finance is now having to implement many PFM reforms to better manage the available resources and give greater aid to those sectors rendered the most vulnerable by the situation.
Linpico and the Ministry of Finance have reviewed the ToR’s in order to re-allocate our technical assistance to support those new short and medium term reforms.
Analysis of the budget and Public Finance Management in Tunisia: Due to the health crisis triggered by COVID-19 and its effects upon Tunisia’s economy, specific ToRs are being developed in order to adapt the experts’ mission. Indeed, the studies and analysis will have to be primarily focussed on the disbursement of special budget aid (budget aid of 175 thousand dollars to aid Tunisia in coping with the effects of the new COVID-19 and allocated to the emergency operation title for aid to development politics for resilience and recovery), whilst also taking into account the new macroeconomic data emerging from this unusual situation and its effect upon the economy.