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State Auditor: crisis funds spent appropriately but lack coordination

The funding to overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19 has been used adequately, Auditor General Rolands Irklis told Latvian Radio May 18.

Last year, State Audit paid considerable attention to the verification of Covid-19 related expenditure. “In our view, Covid-19 cost check has been very important, since almost one billion euro was spent there in total. And State Audit was able to verify about 92% of that amount,” Irklis said.

Currently, the State Audit Office has concluded that each ministry and department “fight for themselves” and their own industries, but that coordination was lacking. Nor was there an agreement on who, under what circumstances and to what extent, the aid was to be provided.

Consequently, in some cases where the crisis has not affected the sector much, very substantial aid is granted. “In other cases, it is more bureaucratic and complex to get the aid,” said Irklis.

As an example, the Auditor General mentioned agriculture, where aid could be obtained even if the fall in revenue was 5%. Meanwhile, in tourism, support was only granted to those experiencing at least a 30% drop.

However, Irklis said that overall significant irregularities have not been identified: “It must be acknowledged that funding has been used mainly in line with its intended purpose. For the most part, shortcomings have been avoidable, administratively, where there has been insufficient care. But overall, it could not be said that funding would be [spent] wrong or inappropriately.”

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