National Audit Office of the Republic of Lithuania

Press Release


01/12/2020

National Audit Office of Lithuania: Cotainment of the COVID-19 situation requires relevant information, complex measures and timely decisions

The scope of the Government’s countermeasures and their timely implementation has a decisive impact on how the adverse effects of COVID-19 on public health, income of residents, liquidity of enterprises, etc. will be reduced and how significantly the amounts of state revenue and expenditure will change. The National Audit Office of Lithuania (NAOL) prepared an overview “Management of COVID-19 Crisis and Emergency” which summarised information on the actions and measures taken by the Government in February–October 2020 for the management of the COVID-19 emergency and for reducing the negative consequences of the pandemic. Similar reviews of the Government’s actions to counter the Coronavirus pandemic and its negative consequences are carried out by other countries’ SAIs.

“Generalised experiences in pandemic management and mitigation must serve the responsible authorities in their decision making that would respond most appropriately to the challenges and needs of areas affected by the pandemic and would allow for the proper design of future actions. We see that complex measures and actions are needed to mitigate the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19: precise systematic information and on its basis expeditiously made political decisions and amended legal acts, additional economic and financial measures,” states Auditor General Mindaugas Macijauskas.

The Government has adopted a COVID-19 containment strategy to manage the shedding of the Coronavirus in the short term and to prepare for its new waves, however, the implementation of 28% of actions is delayed. There are delays in reviewing and amending the necessary legislation and operational recommendations on the management of infections in personal healthcare institutions, reviewing and drafting amendments to the legal acts regulating the process of formation and use of the state reserve, etc.

The Coronavirus pandemic and its containment in the I-III quarters of 2020 required an increase of EUR 0.5 billion more than the planned budget expenditure of the State, State Social Insurance and Compulsory Health Insurance Funds, and almost EUR 0.9 billion of planned revenue was not collected in the budgets. At the end of the first half of 2020, the public debt increased to EUR 20.1 billion, the largest amount of debt to date, however, Lithuania has not planned how the debt growth will be stabilised and preconditions for it reduction will be created.

EUR 11.6 billion is earmarked for the measures approved by the Government to counter the negative consequences of COVID-19 and for economic stimulus and transformation. The intensity of use of funds for business and residents as well as for economic stimulus measures provided for in the Economic Stimulus and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mitigation Action Plan amounted to approximately 40% at the end of September. Looking at the experience of other EU countries in combating the pandemic, all countries have similar measures to preserve incomes and jobs, as well as to ensure the liquidity of businesses.

The risk of achieving the goal of Lithuania’s Plan for the DNA of the Future Economy to transform the Lithuanian economy into an innovative and creating high added value is posed by the fact that insufficient time and lack of information about their economic feasibility and detailed cost-benefit analysis are devoted to project consideration and evaluation. Over 70% of investments into this Plan are composed of investments planned before its approval.

The analysis of the current situation and the experiences of the coronavirus COVID-19 provide preconditions for assessing the institutions' ability to adapt flexibly to a rapidly changing situation, to take advantage of the opportunities for cooperation with stakeholders and the experience of the EU and countries worldwide.  We hope that these systematised data will become a source of generalised information on the actions of the Government to the public and an additional opportunity for the institutions involved in the management of emergency and mitigation of its negative consequences when planning and taking decisions that respond most appropriately to the needs of the areas affected by the consequences of the pandemic.

 

National Audit Office of the Republic of Lithuania
Pamėnkalnio str. 27, LT-01113 Vilnius
www.vkontrole.lt