Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Ministry of Finance (MoF)

Civilian Technical Assistance Program (CTAP)
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The CTAP Overview:

overview

The Civilian Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) is a National Capacity Development program of the government of Afghanistan, designed to strengthen the capacity of Tashkeel staff and key ministries within the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, whereby assisting public agencies to effectively deliver services to the public while supporting towards the successful implementation of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) and their prioritized programs.

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“CTAP Technical Advisors preform beyond expectations”-Says Sharifi, the SAO General Auditor

On Sunday May 5, 2014, a CTAP team paid a visit to the Supreme Audit Office (SAO) to look at the performance of the two CTAP TAs, Rajvir Singh and Hoveyda Abbas, who joined SAO as audit planning and reporting advisors, in May 2012. The team consisted of Mohammad Yasin Samim, Communication and Outreach Manager, and Abdul Rahman Tokhi, Capacity Building Manager.

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SAO is a government institution, mandated to control, monitor and report on government revenues, expenditures and public assets, using international standards. Determined to ensure quality services, SAO needed CTAP TAs to assist them in two major areas: (1) improve staff capacity to better audit financial affairs in government agencies and state-owned enterprises, (2) consolidate relations between SAO, INTOSAI and ASSOSI, the two international audit organizations.  The CTAP team met with a number of the key SAO staff who evaluated performance of Rajvir Singh and Hoveyda Abbas (the two CTAP TAs placed in SAO) as follows:
Dr. Mohammad Sharif Sharifi, Auditor General: “If CTAP has provided similar capacity building assistance, as it did to SAO, to other government institutions as well, I would certainly call it an outstandingly national program”.  He expressed great satisfaction about the services of the CTAP TAs in SAO. Sharifi rated Abbas Hoveyda as a uniquely professional and technical advisor, justifying that he has exceeded his ToRs by responding to capacity needs in all SAO departments. “Hoveyda did an extraordinary job by playing a key role in the development and production an important package of technical material (manuals, guidelines, policies and checklists), Sharifi added.

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He also appreciated the contribution made by Rajvir Singh to quickly introduce the SAO strategic areas of focus. Among three types of audit, performance audit is the hardest one, as it requires an auditor with a high level of professionalism and consistency controlling skills. One of Rajvir’s achievements as Sharifi put it, was training the SAO staff on how  to undertake performance audit. Recently, we’ve been able to do the performance audit for the first time in Afghanistan, and since SAO was established in 1993.
Meanwhile, Sharifi confirmed that TAs’ services have had a significant impact on the overall operations of the SAO. He underlined that both TAs have been able to systematically transfer their skills (i.e. quality auditing, planning and reporting) to our staff. They developed a verity of instructional and technical materials, including books, handouts, guidelines, quality control manuals, style guide, glossaries and other documents, pointing out to the shelves and the desk in his room, Sharifi said. On a final note, he remarked the service of the CTAP TAs as an ideal kind of technical assistance and untold-stories-2-4capacity building in Afghanistan. Should CTAP claim to be the best capacity building program, I would be there to support it documentarily!
Mahdi Hussaini, Deputy Auditor General: We really need to benefit from the international expertise the CTAP technical advisors provide. CTAP’s demand-driven philosophy and distinctive capacity building approach have uniquely proven cost-effective in the context of the country, he added. Abbas and Rajvir are the two ideal advisor I have even met; their sense of sincerity, trust and commitment are truly impressive to all staff of SAO, which I even once shared with Deputy Minister Qarizada, Hussaini went on.

Ghulam Sarwar Hashimi, Audit Planning and Reporting Director: The CTAP TAs played a substantial role in establishment of the systems in this directorate and aligning its operations to international standards. He pinpointed the ARTF-Benchmark, prepared by Abbas, to be a potential instrument in facilitating development of an audit report required by donors for releasing funds to ARTF. As a result, a large amount of money has been provided to the government reconstruction budget, Hashimi continued. He also mentioned a great number of  significant documents developed by the CTAP TAs, including the five-year strategic plan of SAO, auditing and reporting formats for the annual revenue and expenditure compliance audit reports, and so on. Hashimi admitted that the TAs began training our staff to implement these formats right after they had been created.  TAs have closely worked with their counterparts, through a participatory untold-stories-2-5capacity building process, which was designed by the TAs and approved by the Supreme Audit Board, Hashimi confirmed.
Overall, Hashimi seemed highly satisfied with performance of the TAs, especially in areas like: transfer of knowledge to their counterparts, which empowered all SAO managers and directors to independently implement the newly-developed systems, policies and procedures; And the needs assessment the TAs carried out to identify training needs of individual counterparts as well as of departments.
The last but not the least: The CTAP team has, when going through some audit journals, encountered articles written by TAs regarding technical and methodological matters relating to audit, aimed to provide SAO staff with extra knowledge about things associated with audit. The articles were authored in English and subsequently translated to local languages. The team ended the visit by thanking SAO for making the best use of the CTAP TAs, and promised them that CTAP will continue to support SAO as and when requested.