The Department of Finance - Abu Dhabi (DoF) has organised an introductory seminar on Law No. 1 of 2017 on the Financial System for the Government of Abu Dhabi recently. The event was attended by more than 450 officials and employees from all government entities in the Emirate.
Following the opening speech, HE Riyad Abdulrahman Al Mubarak, Chairman of DoF, gave a presentation on the objectives of Abu Dhabi Government's financial system, and its role in establishing a unified legal framework for managing public financial resources. He also emphasised its role in establishing an institutional framework characterised by a high level of transparency and accountability for the Emirate which links government spending policies with public finance policy priorities and the Abu Dhabi plan. This is done through identifying the general principles for public financial management, general principles for collecting, managing and distributing public financial resources, defining responsibilities and authorities, in addition to enhancing supervision capabilities and implementing the principles of governance and financial risk management.
His Excellency highlighted the pivotal role of the system in preparing a financial policy based on the accurate forecasts of revenues and expenditures in line with the general policy of the Emirate. It will also aid in categorising all government entities in the Emirate based on the sectors and areas of their work, and also in linking expenditures to outputs and overall performance of each entity, and the development of a legal regulatory framework that ensures sustainable financial performance and sustainable economic growth in Abu Dhabi.
HE Al Mubarak said: "The Abu Dhabi financial system is key to advancing the development of a sustainable and competitive economy in the Emirate, based on the frameworks that have been set by the Abu Dhabi Plan. In addition, it ensures optimal allocation and growth of financial resources through raising the efficiency of spending practices and directing them towards vital strategic sectors to attract more foreign investments and to establish a competitive and flexible environment for all types of economic activities. "
“The law works by adopting a balanced fiscal policy that achieves sustainable economic growth, along with Abu Dhabi's public policy, and preparing the draft budget on an economic and wise basis when estimating expenditures and revenues. It also looks to enhance financial risk management operations and on maintaining reasonable levels of debt. It will result in numerous benefits for the Emirate and will work on building a prosperous future for all Abu Dhabi residents.” His Excellency added.
His Excellency reviewed the responsibilities of the Department of Finance for Abu Dhabi and its jurisdiction under the system, which included the preparation and implementation of an integrated financial system with high levels of efficiency and cost effectiveness, according to the provisions of the law. The Department is also responsible for preparing the government’s financial policy, the general budget and following up on its implementation, organizing tax and non-tax revenues, preparing a pricing manual for government services, managing the public treasury for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, organising government and government-related entities’ bank accounts as well as preparing financial data for Abu Dhabi’s Government and other financial reports.
The Department is also responsible for organising and managing public debt and government guarantees, managing the public reserve account, preparing a financial control system that includes preventative and corrective controls, rules of establishing audit committees as well as the jurisdictions, authorities and responsibilities pertaining to distributing and collecting public financial resources. The Department is also entrusted with the task of issuing unified accounting policies and a guide for unified accounts, and to prepare and close accounts and accounting records as per the approved accounting standards.
The mandate of the Department of Finance is to monitor the financial performance of government companies and entities and other public investments, where the law states the need to develop an ownership policy and a statement for the purpose of the financial performance of each government entity and company according to the framework specified by the law.
The Department of Finance is also entrusted with the task of organising and supervising government purchases and auctions, developing and managing the electronic system to manage public financial resources, identifying and evaluating financial risks, proposing ways to address or limit them, providing guidance, support and training to finance departments staff, conducting studies on taxes, fees and other resources and government financial support, studying and proposing appropriate means of financing for major government projects, and preparing and studying agreements to avoid double taxation, taking into account agreements concluded by the State.
The seminar held discussions about all items and segments of the system, where the general framework for the preparation of the general budget was reviewed, in addition to the bank accounts and the general reserve account, the funds of the Secretariat, the borrowing mechanism and government guarantees, and government lending and grants. The financial reporting mechanism and the government procurement frameworks were also discussed, with a specific focus on general and transitional provisions.
Law No. (1) of 2017 replaced Law No. (18) of 2006 concerning Financial Regulations of the Government of Abu Dhabi and Law No. (6) of 2008 concerning Procurement, Tender, Auctions and Warehouses of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Law No. (21) of 2006 concerning contracts and construction agreements in the field of civil contracting. These laws are to continue to be implemented in a manner that does not conflict with the provisions of this law until the issuance of its relevant regulations and decisions of implementing its provisions have been concluded. Law No. (1) of 2017 repeals any text or provision that violates or is contrary to its provisions.