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Assurance of Acceptable Quality Education for Students at the Higher Education Institutions

Published Date: 31:10:2016

Department: Performance Audit Sector

Type: Performance Audit

The State Audit Office conducted the audit of preconditions necessary for the achievement of an acceptable quality of education. Present audit aimed at the evaluation of the activities carried out by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and higher education institutions.

Study carried out by the Stated Audit Office revealed that 64% of graduates of three selected higher education institutions completed their studies with below average academic performance indicator. 67% of the scores of students with active status are also below average. Additionally, the observation carried out by the audit team revealed that the attendance rate on the lectures/seminars at the selected higher education institutions was as low as 15%.

In line with this, the State Audit Office examined the preconditions that should encourage students to achieve the learning outcomes envisaged by study programs and maintain high academic performance. Particularly, the present audit studied state tuition aid scheme, student services offered by the higher education institutions and study program quality assurance mechanisms.

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Social Use of Timber Resources

Published Date: 27:10:2016

Department: Performance Audit Sector

Type: Performance Audit

State Audit Office of Georgia studied system of social timber use and revealed a number of shortcomings, which corresponds to inadequate response of the ministry and the agency to the firewood resource shortage, irrational usage of the resource in the public sector and non-energy efficient usage of the firewood.

Volume of the allocated resource by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource Protection is not sufficient for the population and due to absence/high value of the alternative energy sources, population utilize illegally extracted resource. According to existing situation there is a firewood shortage in the field, which is also indicated by the increasing number of illegal cuts. State Audit Office considers that for achieving sustainability of forest use and determination of real consumption of firewood, it’s necessary to shrink market of illegal resource trading and provision of legal resource in social sector. Parallel to satisfaction of the real demand on firewood, with joint effort of the ministry and other responsible entities, demand on the firewood and population dependence on the timber resource should gradually decrease; thereby it would be possible to achieve actual sustainability of the forest management.  

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Ensuring Determination of Priorities and Selection of Projects in Local Self-Governing Units

Published Date: 27:10:2016

Department: Performance Audit Sector

Type: Performance Audit

State Audit Office of Georgia conducted the Performance Audit of Ensuring Determination of Priorities and Selection of Projects in Local Self-Governing Units.

The auditees of the performance audit were: the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Municipal Government of Abasha, Gurjaani, Tetritskaro and Ozurgeti self-governing communities, State Representative - Governor and Regional Advisory Councils under regional governor in two selected regions (Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti and Kvemo Kartli). Audit period encompassed 2015 year and the first half of 2016.

The audit revealed that citizens’ participation rate is low in meetings held under Village Support Program where priority projects must be selected by population. At the same time, some municipalities do not use new citizens’ participation forms, which are defined in Local Government Code of Georgia.

Documental information about the infrastructural needs is mostly general and fragmental in selected municipalities. For that reason problems at village level and the inequality between villages cannot be identified. At the same time the document of priorities does not give information about the real priority directions of the municipality.

The audit revealed that the scales of project assessment criteria presented in action plan guideline is mostly general and does not ensure uniform selection process of projects financed from Regional Development Fund. Besides, the criterion, whose scale is presented detailed in guideline is scored by technical mistakes by working groups.

State Audit Office issued recommendations that should improve priority determination and projects selection process in local self-governing units.

Management of Regional Development Fund’s Projects

Published Date: 27:10:2016

Department: State Budget Analysis and Strategic Planning Sector

Type: Performance Audit

Improving the local infrastructure is one of the main prerequisites for reducing disparity within the municipalities, which is one of the most important goals for National Regional Development Strategy. Taking into consideration the fact that RDF is one of the main sources for financing infrastructural projects in municipalities, it is important to distribute fund resources within municipalities based on such criteria which should ensure reduction of disparity. Though, existing criteria (number of population and previous year’s spending) cannot support reduction of disparity. In addition to the mentioned criteria, defining other criteria, which will be based on the needs of municipality and economic factors, will support the development of municipalities and achieving specific goals defined within Regional Development Strategy.

In turn, there is a potential to improve the project implementation stage. In particular, proper monitoring system is a prerequisite for detecting and improving deficiencies on time. In addition development of project post evaluation phase will support the use the accumulated knowledge and experience in future projects, which will in turn improve project implementation process, quality and raise achieved results.

The State Audit Office of Georgia believes that by improving criteria for distribution of fund resources within municipalities, determining periodicity and format for presenting monitoring results and establishing the post evaluation practice for completed projects, will improve the management process of the projects financed by the RDF based on Government Commission’s decision.


To the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure:

To support equal development of municipalities, MRDI in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, develop the criteria for defining the marginal limits, which in addition to the number of population and previous year’s spending, considers actual needs of the municipalities and other socio-economic factors.

To the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure:

To ensure identification and elimination of mistakes made during project implementation phase, compliance of works with the predefined schedule and reporting of monitoring results, the ministry must recommend the form and periodicity of monitoring by taking into consideration the type of projects.

To the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure:

To take into consideration and avoid deficiencies made in previous projects, the Ministry:

  • In collaboration with municipalities, should develop the format of project post evaluation (preparation of the report will be a responsibility  of municipality) and ensure analysis of those reports;
  • Should identify and share the results of analyzing deficiencies revealed on the planning and implementation stages through municipalities.

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performance audit of Capital Projects

Published Date: 13:05:2016

Department: State Budget Analysis and Strategic Planning Sector

Type: Performance Audit

The State Audit Office of Georgia (SAO) conducted performance audit of Capital Projects, which goal was to evaluate the management system of the domestically financed capital projects by assessing each step of the projects life cycle.

For this purpose, audit team studied 23 projects, which were implemented by the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, Ministry of Education and Science. Moreover, auditee is the Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for the development of the program budget methodology and for allocation budgetary resources effectively.

All the investments made in capital projects are intended to develop infrastructure, which is one of the driven forces for the sustainable development of the country. In Georgia mostly capital projects are implemented to create roads, schools, hospitals, irrigation systems, energy infrastructure and etc.  In 2012-2015 years, the percentage of funds spent on capital projects amounted to 10-12% of the approved annual budget. During this period total resources allocated to the capital projects comprised to 3,980 million GEL.

In Georgia, planning and implementation processes are carried out by the line ministries. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for the allocation of budgetary resources among the capital projects implementing agencies and also, for the accumulation and presentation of the financial and general information of capital projects on the country level.

The audit team revealed the following deficiencies in regard with the management and reporting practices of the capital projects. Namely:

Information about planned and implemented capital projects are not complete and precise, on the country level, which is caused by the deficiencies related to the definition of capital projects and by incorrect classification of projects as a capital ones. Moreover, some projects implemented by the ministries and by their subordinated LEPLs and SOEs are not presented in the capital project annex. Imperfect information about the capital investments, on the one hand complicates to estimate accurately their contribution to the development of the country, and on the other hand, to analyze how the country is pursuing its development priorities and which areas require capital investment in the following periods. All these prevent the Government, the Parliament, as well as investors to make informed investment decisions.

Capital project development strategy does not exist neither on the country level, nor on the sector level. Besides, line ministries do not have methodology, which defines clearly the capital projects selection criteria and procedures.  All these raise the risk of choosing the projects which does not respond to the challenges, that the country is facing to and does not support sustainable development of the country.

For the chosen capital projects, formal appraisal, which is aimed to select the best option among several possible alternatives of the project implementation, are not carried out.As a result, at the budget approval stage, while making decision which projects should be financed, missing the appraisal stage increase the risk of selecting uneconomical and non-effective alternative of project implementation. 

Deficiencies are revealed on the detailed planning stage, which represents the most important stage for determining and specifying all the necessary parameters for the project implementation. The most critical problem at this stage appears to be the quality of the detail plan, which mostly is related to the non-comprehensive procedures carried out by the contractor companies (non-precise design documentation, skipped information in the cost break-downs, mistakes in geotechnical investigations and etc.). Namely, for 57% of the studied projects, the quality of the detailed plan became the reason of budget and time overruns.

Additionally, given that the existing practice of project implementation is not uniform, in some cases, significant deviations from the accepted practice are observed. Namely, there are cases of starting the project without developing complete project design documentation or differentiating the rights and responsibilities of the parties in the contract. This makes the costs of the project unpredictable and hampers the monitoring process by the responsible entities. Moreover, in some projects’ cases, involved parties and their commitments are defined in the contract, but the contract does not ensure identification of the responsible party for undertaking unsatisfactory work. 

At the implementation stage of the project, there is not a mechanism, by means of which important changes in the project (termination, substantial modification) would be justified taking different factors into account, such as past or future possible costs, benefits to be obtained and so on.This negatively affects the project sustainability and cannot ensure its compliance with the initial motivation and objectives. Namely, the audit revealed that from the 23 studied projects, 3 of them were terminated without analysis and justification. 2[1] out of 3 are still terminated and the total funds allocated to them amounts to 980 thousand GEL.  In case of the third project[2], 10.9 thousand GEL was spent at the termination moment and project resumed only after 19 months after the termination.

The form and frequency of the projects monitoring reports, which should be submitted to the project implementing agencies by the project supervisors, are not defined. Consequently, information about the ongoing projects progress is not consolidated, which complicates obtaining the necessary information about the implementation process of a specific project for the interested parties.  Non-standardized representation of the results of the monitoring makes the project appraisal difficult both, during the project implementation stage and after the completion.

After completion of the projects attained results are not evaluated, the knowledge acquired and the experience gained is not utilized for planning the following periods’ projects.  Therefore, the information about the projects results does not exist.Additionally, failure of utilizing the existing knowledge and experience becomes the reason of the repetitive nature of the deficiencies what subsequently leads to inefficient and uneconomical spending of the budget resources.

[1] The projects of the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs: construction of the psychological clinics, laboratory for pathologies.

[2] The program of the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs - Developing the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.

Performance Audit of the Government’s On-lending Activities

Published Date: 10:03:2016

Department: State Budget Analysis and Strategic Planning Sector

Type: Performance Audit

On-lending is a lending instrument utilized by many developing country governments. The rationale of on-lending is to support the implementation of the important investment projects without increasing the state budget burden by servicing the external debt. Under the prudent implementation of the on-lending practices countries get the opportunity to increase the potential of economic growth.

The State Audit Office of Georgia audited the Government’s on-lending practice in the period of 2010-2015. The audit has revealed a number of deficiencies in the on-lending activities of the Government:

  • Ministry of Finance of Georgia (MOF) does not have in place a comprehensive on-lending policy document setting the criteria for debtor selection and responsibilities of the entities involved in the process. Debtor selection process does not include the due diligence activities and at the moment loans are extended to the companies in financial difficulties;
  • The risks related to the lending activity are not assessed, priced and taken into account in determining the terms and conditions of on-lending. The MOF did not undertake any independent credit risk assessment prior to the on-lending transactions. In addition, the MOF does not have in place a written guideline describing how credit risk should be assessed and the way corresponding loan terms should be formulated when evaluating on-lending proposals. As a result, the basis of extending (or reorganizing) the loan to the entity whose financial situation does not guarantee the loan repayment is ambiguous.
  • Monitoring the performance of the lending and on-lending agreements is one of the important operations for the effective portfolio management and one of the statutory requirements. Monitoring function of the MOF is not an effective tool in detecting the threats in terms of loan recovery. An existing credit monitoring system does not provide the MOF with the sufficient information about the financial soundness of the borrower and does not ensure the identification of the potential problems in debt servicing;
  • The existing practice of recording the on-lent loans does not ensure the completeness, and provided information does not reflect the real standing of the on-lending portfolio. In addition, detailed information about the current standing of portfolio is not disclosed publicly neither by means of web sources nor it is included in the budget documents. Therefore, the transparency of the data is not ensured.

Considering all the shortcomings prevailing in the management of the on-lending activities and to improve the existing on-lending practice, the State Audit Office of Georgia elaborated corresponding recommendations.

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External Quality Assurance of Higher Education

Published Date: 09:03:2016

Department: Performance Audit Sector

Type: Performance Audit

The State Audit Office conducted the performance audit of External Quality Assurance of Higher Education covering the activities carried out by the LEPL National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement (the NCEQE) from 2011 to first half of 2015.

The accreditation process of higher education programs is the main external mechanism for higher education quality assurance and serves to ensure the compliance of study programs with existing standards. The State Audit of Georgia studied the accreditation procedure implemented by the NCEQE. The analysis revealed that the NCEQE accreditation mechanisms have major deficiencies on each stage of the process what hampers the achievement of higher education goals which aims to train competent individuals, capable of satisfying modern requirements of labor market.

  • Establishing accreditation standards with pre-determined assessment criteria and performance indicators is essential for effective accreditation process. Audit has revealed that due to the absence of pre-determined performance indicators, the HEIs are not obligated and therefore, fail to present relevant and sufficient information and supporting evidence for self-assessment reports. Furthermore, it is possible to fulfill different standard requirements with the same criteria. Therefore, those standard components do not serve their purpose. This hinders consistent evaluation of the level of compliance of study programs with the accreditation standards.
  • In the existing accreditation process, experts’ contribution is of a crucial importance. However, the Register of Experts is not properly managed by the NCEQE. Inefficient management of the experts’ database and the absence of set regulations in respect of the number of experts and terms of procedures caused irrelevant and inconsistent selection of experts for the expert committees in the audit period. In 29% out of all accreditation visits, the program evaluation was not conducted by an expert of relevant field. In 17.5% out of all visits, the NCEQE has not allocated sufficient resources corresponding to the number of programs to be reviewed. In 29% of all cases, experts had less than average amount of time (5 days) to study all the relevant accreditation documents.
  • The audit revealed, that the NCEQE hardly ever fully uses the 90-day term, assigned by its statute for accreditation procedures of each program in an efficient manner.   The number of study programs to be reviewed per Board meeting was in no way reflected on the term that is allocated to the Board for reviewing study program accreditation documents and respective experts’ opinion. Moreover, the analysis of the orders on accreditation visits and visit terms revealed that in 41% of cases the preparatory term and/or the number of experts was not proportionate to the number of programs to be examined.
  • Also the NCEQE has not implemented the follow up mechanism on study program accreditation process which shall ensure the compliance of study programs with the existing quality requirements. The audit has revealed that since 2011 no monitoring visit has been carried out based on the annual self-assessment reports.

The State Audit Office of Georgia has developed the recommendations which facilitate the elimination of existing deficiencies and consequential system improvement.

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