7 February 2018, Hiroshima, Japan - As a part of the UNITAR Public Financial Management Capacity Building Training Programme, the UNITAR Hiroshima Office organized and successfully completed a Study Tour for 19 officials, including 8 females, from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance. The overall objective of the study tour was to enhance the participants’ understanding of Public Financial Management practices in the areas of accounting, financial reporting, budgeting and audit by reviewing global good practice, international standards, recent developments, and other countries practices, in particular the budgetary cycle in Japan, so that these could be applied in their day-to-day work and inform their decision making. The study tour was held in Tokyo and Hiroshima, Japan between 24 January and 1 February 2018.
The study tour began in Tokyo with the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) hosting a seminar exploring "Current Issues in Economics and Finance". With experts from the Japanese Ministry of Finance and the ADBI, the seminar covered: Public Financial Management - Issues and Challenges; Fiscal Policy, Taxation, and Bond Market Development; and Issues in Financial Inclusion and Financial Technology. The participants paid a courtesy call to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where they discussed Japan's extensive support of Afghanistan and the key role that the Afghan Ministry of Finance plays in rebuilding Afghanistan. H.E. Ambassador Dr. Bashir Mohabbat also hosted the participants and key Japanese government and UN officials at a reception inside the beautiful Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
The participants then moved to Hiroshima and explored key issues and concepts within Public Financial Management through interactive lectures and exercises led by Ms. Sherazade Shafiq, Financial Management Specialist. The participants were able to undertake study visits to Hiroshima Prefecture’s Finance Division, as well as the Municipal Administration and Finance Division, where representatives from the prefecture explained the Japanese approach to public finance and answered questions related to budgeting from the Afghan officials. The participants also visited the Chugoku Regional Office of the National Financial Bureau where the budgetary processes, capital raising mechanisms and the budget execution survey were discussed. The participants visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, where they learnt and discussed lessons from coming to Hiroshima and learning about its recovery. The participants also paid a courtesy call to the Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture, who has been a longstanding supporter of Afghanistan and the UNITAR Hiroshima Office.
This study tour will be followed up by a Lessons Learned Workshop, where the trainees will present the assignments they have been working since the study tour, and discuss further questions and next steps. The study tour was covered by the NHK Hiroshima TV 6pm News, NHK Hiroshima (JP), Chugoku Newspaper (JP), and Yomiuri Newspaper.
Photos: (top) Reception hosted by the Afghan Embassy in Tokyo; (bottom) participants doing a group exercise