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08 June 2021

The Auditor recommends increased security and integrity of information systems in the Agency for Agriculture Development

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The National Audit Office (NAO) published on Tuesday the information technology audit report on “Electronic Systems for Management of Grants and Subsidies in AAD-MAFRD”. The audit was conducted in the Agency for Agricultural Development which operates within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development and has an executive role aimed at implementing programs supportive to agriculture and rural development.

This audit covers the period 2018-2020 and its objective was to assess whether information systems for the management of agricultural grants and subsidies have achieved their purpose and whether they provide for the integrity, validity and reliability of data while processed.

With the launch of these applications, the Agency has managed the processes for financial support to farmers more easily, thus resulting in increased transparency. However, the audit highlighted significant shortcomings regarding the management of information technology and provision of integrity, validity and reliability of data contained therein.

The Agency for Agricultural Development has neither drafted the strategic plan or information technology strategy nor the information technology policies and procedures. AAD also did not allocate financial and human resources according to its needs and created dependence on third parties, thus undermining the availability, integrity and reliability of information technology processes.

The applications used by the Agency did not contain controls to ensure that they only receive authorized, accurate and complete data. As a result, the databases contained inaccurate data. Weaknesses have also been found in the security of information systems which undermine the infrastructure and systems making it unsafe and vulnerable to possible errors and misuse. This also leads to the risk that the data stored in the databases will be altered without being identified.

The Auditor General of Kosovo, Besnik Osmani, emphasized that the audit results show that the applications used by the Agency do not contain the standards required to efficiently and safely manage the processes for the distribution of agricultural grants and subsidies.

The National Audit Office has recommended the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development to take immediate actions to coordinate activities with the Agency for Agricultural Development in order to ensure good governance and integrity of information systems. The NAO has given 16 recommendations in this regard.

You may read the whole report here.