The Department of Finance, in partnership with the University of PNG and with assistance from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Managers of England and Wales, has tailored a specialised degree program, the Bachelor of Public Finance and Accountancy. This two year degree program credits candidates’ previous qualifications and prior experience working in the area of public financial management. It is designed for government employees interested in building and expanding their knowledge and practical skills in public financial management.
The main objective of the program is to provide candidates with a working knowledge of financial management techniques that are relevant to public sector financial operations. To date over 35 officers benefit from the program with a new intake of up to 30 will commence in 2017. The academic training is supported via the recently established Association of Government Accountants & Public Financial Managers (AGA&PFM) which aims to act as a network for over 3,000 Public Finance Management Practitioners working in National Government Departments, Provincial Governments and District and Local level governments throughout the country.
The program is jointly managed by the Department of Finance and the University of Papua New Guinea School of Business Administration. The overall objective of the Government, as enshrined in the PNG Constitution, is to create a society in which each citizen has the prospect of a better quality of life. The Department of Finance contributes towards the achievement of this goal by developing and implementing a financial framework that effectively manages public resources. There is therefore a need to create a critical mass of staff at all levels who are well qualified and competent to carry out the financial management responsibilities to the highest standards.
The first intake in 2015 of 26 staff was from the Department of Finance (25) and Department of National Planning and Monitoring (1). These officers were from the Provinces and Districts and will take their enhanced skills back to their communities on completion of their studies. The program is now extended to all National Departments and intakes are planned to be 30% from the Department of Finance and 70% from other Departments. The Department of Finance will continue to play a coordinating role.
On completion of the Bachelor of Public Accounting, the degree program opens up new doors for graduates who will have several academic and professional development options to follow after graduation including:
- CPAPNG qualifications -joining in at Graduate category.
- CIPFA qualification – entry at associate level.
- Qualifications from other professional bodies
- Post graduate studies
The program will have long lasting benefits to not only the individuals who study, but also their organisations and ultimately the whole nation in having a more highly skilled workforce dedicated to leading their teams in managing public funds in a professional and competent way.