– to boost oil and gas, environmental audit capacity
– as 2017 Audit Report handed over to Speaker
The Audit Office of Guyana will be embarking on a partnership with a Canadian firm that will aim to prepare the agency to be able to audit oil companies in Guyana, among other areas.
This was explained by Auditor General Deodat Sharma at the official handing over of the 2017 Audit Report of Guyana at the Public Buildings on Friday to Speaker of the House, Dr Barton Scotland.
He revealed that the firm, Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation (CAAF), will be conducting training over a seven-year period.
“One officer will be working on the area of environment audits, with special emphasis on Guyana’s preparedness to deal with oil spills at sea that could have devastating effects on endangered species and also our crops and livestock along our coastland.”
“This arrangement with the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation, for which an agreement with the Audit Office of Guyana will be signed in January 2019, whereby CAAF will be providing training in various disciplines for the next seven years. The other officer will be working in the area of gender equality.”
Sharma also assured that the Audit Office will continue to ensure improvements are made to its operations. These improvements will include the implementation of software – TeamMate – with the ultimate aim of paperless operations at the office.
Meanwhile, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member Nigel Dharamlall lauded the Audit Office for timely delivery of the report. Dharamlall, who spoke on behalf of PAC Chairman Irfaan Ali, said several issues that affected accountability in public office are expected to be addressed.
“I think the Auditor General’s report is an important element, critical to our good governance, public accountability and transparency. And we do hope that whatever is obtained in the Auditor General’s report, many of the issues perceived to affect public officers and their duties regarding their treatment of the public purse that those issues have been dealt with this time around.”
“We had some issues with the 2016 report and 2015 and previous years. There’ve been instances where we had repeat offenders,” Dharamlall added, though he acknowledged the limitations under which accounting officers do their jobs.
Meanwhile, Dr Scotland observed that the Auditor General’s work remains an integral part of the management and scrutiny of resources made available to the Government. He added that while the office is an independent one and is protected in the performance of its duties, the annual presentation by the Auditor General is mandatory.
“The report of the Auditor General is of signal importance in relation to Parliament’s treatment of the budget and the scrutiny of Parliament of the resources generally. So, we must appreciate that as set out in the Constitution, the AG must at this time, annually present this report.”
It was explained at the handing over that the audit report would be laid in the National Assembly once the House comes out of recess early next month. It is then that the report becomes a public document.