The Nejvyšší kontrolní úřad (NKÚ), the Supreme Audit Office of the Czech Republic, has investigated the financial management of government organizations. The report highlights several problems in managing at least some of the twenty-five government organizations established by the environmental, agriculture, industry, and trade ministries. These organizations, which received over 8.5 billion Czech koruna for their operations, were found to have purchased external services they were supposed to provide themselves without adequately evaluating the cost-effectiveness of these purchases.
The NKÚ focused its investigation on the Czech Environmental Information Agency (CENIA), the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Information (ÚZEI), the Service Administration of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Czech Agency for Standardization (ČAS). The report revealed that CENIA had spent 44% of its total expenses on external purchases in 2021, while ČAS had spent 45% on similar services.
One of the organizations, ÚZEI, had set 12 research tasks to be completed between 2019 and 2021 but managed to accomplish only two. The report also highlighted that ČAS paid its employees wages instead of salaries. This resulted in significantly higher monthly earnings for some leading employees than their counterparts in other audited government organizations.
In addition, the NKÚ investigation discovered irregularities in the sponsorship program for access to Czech technical standards (ČSN). Sponsors, mainly government ministries, contributed over 113 million Czech koruna in 2021, but the number of users benefiting from this sponsorship was significantly lower than reported. While ČAS estimated the number of users to be 65,011, the actual number was only 8,512.
The report raises concerns about the financial management practices within these government organizations and the lack of proper oversight. It calls for stricter control and evaluation of procurement processes and urges organizations to prioritize cost-effectiveness and internal provision of services.
The findings of the NKÚ report highlight the need for improved financial accountability and transparency in government organizations. These organizations must ensure that public funds are spent efficiently and effectively to fulfill their intended purposes and serve the Czech Republic’s and its citizens’ best interests.