The activities of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of Bulgaria and Montenegro in the context of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 and the audits of the emergency measures undertaken to deal with Covid-19 were discussed during a bilateral working meeting that took place in Podgorica, Montenegro from 23 to 26 June 2021.
The meeting was at the invitation of the President of the SAI of Montenegro, Phd Milan Dabovic. The President of the Bulgarian National Audit Office Tzvetan Tzvetkov and the Vice President Goritsa Grancharova took part in it.
In his welcome speech, Phd Milan Dabovic, said that the visit was a continuation of close and friendly relations between the two SAIs. Phd Dabovic emphasized on the strong support that the SAI of Montenegro receives from the Bulgarian National Audit Office regarding the institution’s development and pointed out the importance of strengthening the cooperation, especially in the field of applying the international auditing standards, as a key from an EU member state with many years of experience to a candidate state.
The President of the Bulgarian National Audit Office Tzvetan Tzvetkov pointed out that the bilateral cooperation between SAIs is of primary importance, especially at a time when Europe is facing its biggest modern challenge - the economic, health and social crisis caused by COVID-19. He stressed that it is through the exchange of experience that SAIs can offer quick and adequate solutions to common and urgent problems such as pandemics, migration processes, economic, social and demographic crises, and climate change. Mr Tzvetkov also stressed that stability and trust in the state administration and the rule of law are impossible without audit institutions. And they, in turn, have to not only check whether the funds are properly reported, but whether society benefits from it, to meet the needs of citizens through audits on topics relevant to them, to be flexible in crises and changes and to improve technologically.
H.E. Ms Meglena Plugchieva, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to Montenegro pointed out that both countries are partners that develop very good neighbourly relations and Bulgaria supports Montenegro’s European integration through numerous projects.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on economy, finance and budget, Vladimir Jokovic, stressed the importance of the work of the SAI and for strengthening parliamentary scrutiny.
During the working meeting, the Presidents of the two SAIs presented the activities for ensuring continuity and efficiency in the work of the institutions in the conditions of a pandemic.
The Vice President of the Bulgarian National Audit Office Goritsa Grancharova presented the audits of the measures for overcoming the consequences of the pandemic. She acquainted her colleagues from the SAI of Montenegro with the changes undertaken by the Bulgarian SAI in its audit work - the inclusion of three audits in the audit program for 2020 and three more audits in the program for 2021 regarding the public funds for the fight with the consequences of the pandemic. The audits are in various socio-economic areas: economic measures for micro, small and medium-size enterprises, social support and employment, support for farmers, in the field of tourism, health and the European React-EU mechanism.
The representatives of the SAI of Montenegro showed great interest in the Bulgarian experience in performance audits, especially in the field of environment, as well as in the Manual for the Audit Activities developed by the Bulgarian National Audit Office on the basis of international auditing standards. They were invited to training meetings to get acquainted in detail with the methodology of the Bulgarian National Audit Office.