CHAD FISCAL AGENT SERVICES FOR THE GLOBAL FUND IV AND GAVI I
The role of GFA’s Fiscal Agent (FA) in Chad is mandated by the Global Fund (GF) since 2018 and by Gavi since 2020. The FA supports the Principal Recipient (PR) - Unité de gestion de projets/Project Management Unit (UGP) at the Ministry of Health in meeting donor requirements and ensuring appropriate use of funds by mitigating the risk of misuse of grants fighting malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, polio, and measles. The former three subventions are allocated by the GF and the latter two – by Gavi. Both donors have also given special attention to the COVID pandemic and allocated funds accordingly.
GFA’s FA is responsible for verifying and certifying that funds amounting to over 55 million EUR allocated to the country for fighting tuberculosis and HIV, and over 40 million EUR for fighting malaria, are used appropriately. The FA Team operates only in N’Djamena due to the high security risk outside the capital. The project and country environments are complex. These are characterized by risks of a lower fund absorption rate (or burn rate) due to the lack of sufficient amount of qualified staff at the PR, slower procurement procedures, need for upgrades of procedure manuals and, at times, reluctant approach vis-à-vis the role and functions of the FA, to name only a few. Nevertheless, the FA has been performing effectively to mitigate the aforementioned deficiencies by being dedicated to working closely with PR and SRs (Sub-Recipients) while providing training, mentoring and capacity building, verifying and ensuring that all commitment requests and/or payments are within the scope of grant implementation.
The FA thus certifies that commitment requests and payments by the PR are: complete and accurate, justified and consistent with the approved budget and work plan, compliant with the Manual of Procedures of the PR and national procurement and other relevant laws, and authorized and eligible.
The FA has been carrying out its functions efficiently despite the difficult country context challenges in Chad following the coup d’état in April 2021 and the recalcitrant attitude towards FA’s role and procedures. Notwithstanding the obstacles, one of the success stories that donors recognize is the crucial role of the FA in implementing Mobile Money payments, which allow personnel (e.g. doctors, field workers and other staff in the regions) to receive their monthly salary via their mobile number, thus minimizing the risk of fund misappropriation and commission payback demands by hierarchy.
Another good practice example mandated by GF and implemented by the FA is that the PR will soon have a revised Manual of Procedures consistent with national laws and regulations.
GFA has recently developed and proposed a tool on open advance reconciliation to the donors, which will allow for closer monitoring of expenses and advance disbursement at state level by the PR and justification of advances paid to the provincial level structures. Donors have welcomed this instrument enthusiastically and it is being successfully implemented in GFA’s FA Sudan project.