The Supreme Office for the Republic of Srpska Public Sector Auditing has conducted a performance audit titled “Management of special-purpose forestry funds”.
The purpose of this performance audit was to answer the question of whether the special-purpose forest funds are managed efficiently, i.e. to determine whether these funds are planned, allocated and spent in accordance with comprehensive, consistent and clear strategic and regulatory commitments and priorities, whether the spending of these funds is continuously monitored, analyzed and reported to the relevant institutions and on that basis whether measures for improvements are proposed and implemented.
The findings of the audit have shown that the goals set out in the Republic of Srpska s Forestry Development Strategy are generally not measurable and timed, and it is questionable to what extent they are realistic and achievable. The priorities, scope and sources of funds needed for its realization are unclear. An action plan for the implementation of the Strategy was not adopted. The Republic of Srpska s Forestry Program, which should be adopted on the basis of the Forestry Development Strategy and which is a key document for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of forestry policy, has not been drafted. The regulation relevant to the management of special-purpose forestry funds is unclear and inconsistent in terms of coverage and use of special-purpose forestry funds, the roles and responsibilities of institutions, the relationship between simple and extended forestry reproduction, etc.
Long-term forestry plans are made in the context of inadequate or non-existent strategic and programming documents, ambiguity of regulations, uncertainty regarding the scope of special-purpose forestry funds to be spent in the forestry sector and users of the funds, which is reflected in their content and implementation in practice.
The amounts of special-purpose funds for forests planned in the various annual planning documents are inconsistent, and the planning process itself in the various institutions has not been adequately coordinated. The plan for the use of special-purpose funds for forests shall be prepared in accordance with the amount of funds in the Republic of Srpskas Budget earmarked for subsidies to non-financial entities in the field of forestry. The production-financial plan of the Public Forestry Enterprise “Republic of Srpskas Forests” plans for investments to acquire special-purpose forestry funds in excess of the total amount planned in the Forest Spending Plan (proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management to the Republic of Srpska Government) for distribution to all users of the funds.
In the observed five-year period, KM 7.2 million was allocated to beneficiaries of the total planned special-purpose forestry funds in the amount of KM 7.9 million. The allocation of special-purpose funds for forests in the field of forestry was inadequately conducted under conditions of unclear priorities and criteria. The continuity and timeliness of the allocation of funds to the beneficiaries, above all the Public Forestry Enterprise “Republic of Srpska`s Forests”, were not ensured.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management emphasized on the control function, but did not monitor in a comprehensive and organized manner the use of special-purpose forestry funds, analyzed and evaluated the results achieved, and there were no measures to improve the management of special-purpose forestry funds.
The basic conclusion of this audit is that the competent institutions have not achieved the necessary and possible level of efficiency in managing special-purpose forestry funds.
Based on findings and conclusions based on relevant, reliable and sufficient audit evidence, audit recommendations have been created. In accordance with the competences, roles and responsibilities in the management of special-purpose forestry funds, the audit has given recommendations to the Republic of Srpska Government, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management and the Public Forestry Enterprise “The Republic of Srpska`s Forests” on changes that need to be undertaken in order to improve the management of special-purpose forestry funds.
The complete audit performance report is available on the website of the Supreme Office for the Republic of Srpska Public Sector Auditing.