Technical assistance to the GARFIP in Sao Tome, 9th mission successfully fullfilled

In order to improve the efficiency of Public Finance Management (PFM) in São Tomé and Príncipe, the Government has developed a PFM Reform Strategy (ERGFP) for the period 2020-2023. The ERGFP has been structured around 8 Specific Objectives and 8 Operational Programmes, to be achieved by implementing a detailed action plan – PARFIP II.

This project provides the Government of São Tomé and Príncipe and its sectoral technical ministries with advice and technical assistance to achieve the objectives of the ERGFP, through the provision of 2 experts, over the period 2021-2023, in support of the Office for Public Finance Reforms (GARFIP) of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Blue Economy (MFPEA), with 9 out of the 13 scheduled missions that have been implemented, so far.

After a second half of year 2022, during which our technical assistance was impacted by the electoral and post-electoral process in STP, S1-2023 was very active, with a very intense TA support provided to GARFIP and the PFM reforms, in STP.

During S1-2023, our TA team carried out the 3 missions in the country, changing the objective of the second mission this semester, after the decision of the Minister PFEA to postpone the realization of the PEFA Gender and the PEFA Climate (initially scheduled for the month  of September 2023), and provided its continued support to GARFIP, as required by the GARFIP team.

Meetings were held with the government PFM entities involved, and workshops in 5 District Councils were provided, for the improvement of the financial reporting at the subnational level and the improvement of the financial accuracy and timeliness of the consolidated quarterly and annual financial statements of the country.

The impacts of the 2022 legislative elections on the PFM reforms were still felt in the 1st half of 2023, as well as the effects of the limitations on internal resources (due to the absence of an approved Budget) that impacted the process of some “Quick wins” in the DO (in budget preparation) and DT (in SOE’s governance).

However, the GARFIP team continued its work satisfactorily, benefiting from the continuous support of the TA team, streamlining some of the PARFIP II activities, engaging the various PFM teams, as well as adequately reprogramming some of the scheduled activities, with the aim of maximizing the improvements of PFM activities in the country, during the year 2023.

After the new Government took office in November 2022, the new employees demonstrated a strong engagement with the reforms, benefited from the TA action-based training, for the realization of a mid-term self-assessment of the ERGFP, which allowed government officials to align themselves with the importance of PFM reforms and to raise their awareness in relation to gender issues, trough the PEFA Gender training realized by our TA team.