2022 Audit Report handed over to Speaker of the National Assembly
Auditor General Deodat Sharma on Friday presented the 2022 Audit Report to Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, ahead of the September 30 statutory deadline.
This latest document is Sharma’s 19th report on the country’s finances.
“As this is the 19th report of the Audit Office under my tenure, I will now have issued more reports than former Auditor General Reginald P. Farnum, who had presented 14 reports and Anand Goolsaran who presented only 9 reports,” AG Sharma noted.
In previous reports, the Auditor General had cited varying issues such as overpayments – an issue which is recurring in the 2022 Audit Report.
Sharma told another news entity that for the first time this year, most of the overpayments were refunded. This, he said, never happened before and shows the respect that these public agencies have for the Audit Office.
Over the years, the Audit Office has been submitting its report by the statutory September 30 deadline following the close of the financial year.
According to Sharma, this is the third time in recent years that the report has been issued before the end of September. The last two reports for 2020 and 2021 were issued on September 19 and 20, respectively.
“This is in keeping with our mission statement of timely reporting of the results to the legislature and ultimately, the public,” the Auditor General stated.
In addition to the 2022 audit, three performance audits were handed over on Friday. These were an assessment of the Education Ministry’s Hinterland School Feeding Programme, the Implementation of the International Health Regulations 2005, and a Review of the Ministry of Labour’s Occupational Safety and Health Inspection Process.
The Audit Act mandates that the Auditor General carries out performance audits and to date, 16 performance audit reports have been presented.
Moreover, Sharma said on Friday that they have also issued audit reports for 102 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs), six municipalities, and 69 statutory bodies. He added that the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC), which had its accounts in arrears, now has its account audited up to 2021.
Meanwhile, Sharma noted that capacity-building has also been a key priority of the Audit Office, to strengthen the ability to conduct and examine performance audits and reports, through its partnership with the Canadian Auditing and Accountability Foundation (CAAF).
As a result, 15 management and middle-management officers have participated in a train-the-trainers programme facilitated by the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation (CAAF).
When Parliament resumes in October, CAAF will be conducting another workshop with Members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on “Asking Effective Questions on Performance Audits”.
Additionally, a total of 17 officers have also benefitted from report writing training, in strengthening the capacity to ensure clarity and critical insights through the audit reports.
Importantly, another 23 officers from the Audit Office have attended training to develop the office’s capability to perform audits in the extractive industries in particular the oil and gas sector. Many Members of Parliament also benefitted from this training.
“This training has equipped us better to understanding the extractive industry and the role the Audit Office plays in conducting audits of the developing oil sector in Guyana… The Office recognise that continuous learning and development is crucial to the continued achievements of its mandate,” the Auditor General stated.
Meanwhile, Speaker Nadir commended the Auditor General’s office as an impactful and credible voice in monitoring how the country’s resources are expended.
“We have a long way to go. With much more resources at our disposal, the work is going to explode exponentially,” the Speaker noted during the handing over of the 2022 Audit Report at the Parliament Office in Georgetown.
Also there to witness the handover was the Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Jermaine Figueira, who also lauded the Audit Office for its timely delivery of these public fiscal reports. He expressed hope that the pace of work of the Committee can be fast-tracked to come in line with the annual reports produced by the Audit Office.
In the 2021 Auditor General report, the Audit Office noted that over 70 per cent of recommendations that were made the previous year were implemented by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government.