Established in 1993, the Somaliland Office of the Accountant General (OAG) has over 100 employees in its head office in Hargeisa (Somaliland) and eight offices spread across six regions in the country. Headed by the Accountant General, the office is entrusted with various functions including accounting and entitlement functions of the government, compiling of accounts reports from various government departments, and prepares finance & appropriation accounts annually. This institution, however, faces many challenges including insufficient funds, inadequate equipment and inadequate staff coupled with low staff capacity.
In order for the Office to function efficiently and effectively in the delivery of better services to the public, there was need to support and facilitate delivery of such and other functions and responsibilities of the office. Through its Migration for Development Africa (MIDA) programme with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Somalia mission facilitated the recruitment and placement of one Public Sector Audit advisor in the Office of the Accountant General in order to provide a much needed technical support to the office and its affiliate institutions.
As part of identification of existing gaps in the institution and capacity building needs of the staff, the expert conducted a “needs assessment” which revealed gaps and loopholes in the manner in which auditing was conducted. Some of the challenges include unreliable data collection, entry of financial data and inadequate skills and knowledge of the office’s local staff as well as staff from the line government institutions.
To address this and other challenges, the expert supported 17 OAG staff on different aspects including facilitating their enrollment in professional associations such as Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) as well as their enrollment in International English Language Testing System (IELTS) English courses. Upon completion of the exercise, 7 of the participants became qualified as Certified Public Accountants. The IELTS English courses were meant to improve speaking and writing capacities. The MIDA expert further provided continuous training and mentoring throughout the project duration. Some of the trainings conducted include; Introduction to government accounting, Dual entry accounting, Charts of accounting, Internal expenditure control system, External Expenditure control system, Team building, Public Financial Reporting – IPSAS cash Basis.
At the end of the assignment, most government departments were able to use dual entry accounting systems. More importantly, thanks to the improved capacity of the staff Somaliland External Assistant Fiduciary Section will be launched soon by the government. The office will allow Somaliland Government to receive direct Aid and donations from the international community. As a result, seven IPSAS graduates funded by IOM will be recruited to run this office.