The three-year Technical Assistance Project (2019-2022) funded by the European Union with EUR1.1 million to strengthen the country's public finance management framework, ended on 28 February 2022.

The project crafted around the results of Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) 2013 and the subsequent PFM Reform Action Plan sought to address several limitations on the government's budget oversight and control fronts.

The project targeted some of the most important stakeholders sharing PFM responsibilities such as the Ministry of Finance, Auditor General and Contractor General and aimed at strengthening their role in the overall PFM framework as well as their ways of working through updated legislation and more efficient methodologies and procedures.

The technical assistance team focused primarily on analysing and drafting legislation, mentoring and training the staff, supporting pilot audits and preparing written guidance.

Mr Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary, speaking at the final steering committee meeting held on April 11, thanked the European Union for its invaluable support to the government's on-going efforts to improve its Public Financial Management Systems. He stated that updating of the legislation and streamlining of methods and procedures together with the training provided under this Project will greatly enhance the capacity of the relevant persons to carry out their PFM functions in a more efficient and effective manner.

"The Government is committed to carry on the reform work started under the Project and to provide the human and financial resources needed to improve our management and governance functions. All with the view of providing better stewardship of the public funds and better service to the people of Belize," he stated.

Mr Waight also thanked the consulting firm ECORYS which provided the resident technical support under the Project.

Mr Aniceto Rodriguez Ruiz, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Jamaica with responsibility also for Belize, in his intervention noted that "the project assisted the Government to lay strong foundations towards a fully operational Internal Audit Unit and for the Auditor General to become a fully independent institution.

Our successful partnership with Belize in the field of PFM will not end here. (�.) We have started the identification of actions to be funded under the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument - Global Europe (NDICI-GE instrument) for the period 2021-2027 and, while this is work in progress, we will continue to target good governance, transparency and accountability, which are the basis for sustainable development."