ICGFM Promotes Knowledge Transfer Among Public Financial Management Experts

Working globally with governments, organizations, and individuals, the International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management is dedicated to improving financial management by providing opportunities for professional development and information exchange.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Job Opportunity: IMF Looking for Public Sector Cost Accounting Expert to be Based in Sao Paolo, Brazil

The IMF Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) is looking for candidates to work in a project on public sector cost accounting in the State of Sao Paolo, Brazil. The project aims to improve the budget preparation, budget execution, and cost control at the state level. We are looking for highly-qualified public sector cost accounting experts for two assignments: (i) a long-term assignment (one year, renewable for one more year); and (ii) a short-term peripatetic assignment (a two-week visit every quarter during two years). The assignments are in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It is expected that the short-term expert will be a leader in his field and have a strategic guidance role in the project, while the long-term expert will work more intensively on the implementation of the project with Brazilian counterparts.

The objectives of the project are to (i) implement the public cost system in phases, starting with four pilot entities (health, education, prisons, and social assistance); (ii) develop a cost methodology adequate to the public services at the state level; (iii) organize seminars, courses, and other training events to educate the state officials on how to prepare and use cost information; (iv) document the cost methodology used in the existing projects; (v) prepare guidelines for external dissemination of cost data; and (vi) prepare progress reports.

The State of Sao Paolo will create a unit in the Secretary of Finance dedicated to implementing the project. The authorities are also enrolling the University of Sao Paolo to provide support on capacity building and research methodology. The consultants will work directly with this unit and in collaboration with the University.

The State of Sao Paolo has some similarities with US states because Brazil is also a federation. Sao Paolo relies strongly on its own tax resources to implement local policies, and is responsible for the provision of the main public services (education, health, police, etc.). The State has well-functioning integrated financial management information system (IFMIS). The State of Sao Paulo has a population of more than 40 million people and an economy of the size of Argentina. It is indeed a nice place to work and live.

The positions are funded by the State of Sao Paolo itself through a Trust Fund administered by the IMF. The IMF will provide guidance and support (“backstopping”) to the consultants during the entire project, and introduce and support the consultants during the kick-off phase.

Qualification requirements include at least ten years of relevant professional experience, including in cost accounting in the public sector. The ideal candidates would have a degree in accounting, business management, or economics. Portuguese language skill is a plus but it is not a requirement. Fluency in Spanish or English is also acceptable.

The deadline for applications is September 30, 2010. Please send your CV to Mr. Mario Pessoa (mpessoa@imf.org) indicating if you are applying for the short-term or long-term position.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Jess Ford of GAO on US Government Assistance to Mexico

by Fernando Ruiz

International Consortium on Government Financial Management (ICGFM) held a luncheon in the Carnegie Mellon Endowment for International Peace on Wednesday, September 8. The speaker was Jess Ford of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) who spoke about United States assistance to Mexico in the ongoing fight against the drug cartels on the Mexico-US border.

The essence of Mr. Ford’s presentation was the management of aid going to the Merida Initiative which is a joint program between the United States and Mexico to combat the threats of drug trafficking, and money laundering on the border. According to Mr. Ford, since 2007 the United States has been ramping up its aid to Mexico and Central America in order to fight drug trafficking. US assistance has been heavy on equipment and technical assistance such as the training of police.

The objective of the aid has also shifted and is now concentrated on judicial reform, human rights and community development. The GAO’s main role has been speeding up the pace of assistance delivery which has been very slow. As of March 2010, only 46 percent of the funds had been released and the program was signed into law in June of 2008.

Some of the difficulties lie in the State Department which has been the overseer of the program. It simply has not had a modern enough system to track the status of the funding and could only track outputs with no outcome measurements or targets. Several other government organizations track the status and data on the program but none of them share a standard language and methodology, further exacerbating the problem.

Another major concern in this effort according to Mr. Ford is the lack of a consistent strategy by Mexico and other Central American countries to combat drug trafficking.

Mr. Ford concluded with his “lesson learned” about the program and its funding. He placed an emphasis on the need to build institutional capacity for the program and properly train personnel.