By Raheem Akingbolu
The Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, has linked the poor rating of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs), despite the central role they play in the accountability cycle across the world, to years of weak auditing, especially in developing countries.
Ayine made the observation when he addressed participants at the 9th International Public Sector Conference, organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), in Prague, Czech Republic. He spoke on the principal challenges facing Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) globally.
“Years of weak auditing cause the average citizen to be unaware of the value and importance of the SAI as an institution that is central to the accountability cycle,” he stated.
While advocating for the need for the citizens to participate more and become better aware of the role of the SAI, Ayine said it was regrettable that “the INTOSAI Lima Declaration of 1977 on the prerequisites for the independent and effective functioning of SAI is yet to be well applied across many developing countries.”
According to him, the Declaration of Lima, adopted by the IX International Congress of INTOSAI in Lima, Peru, in 1977, is considered to be the Magna Carta of government audit and defines the prerequisites for its independent and effective functioning.
He further added that the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions is the worldwide affiliation of governmental entities whose members comprise of Chief Financial Controller, Comptroller-General, Auditor-General Offices of nations and that it was founded in 1953 in Havana, Cuba, but with headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
While recognising social media as “a key channel” for information dissemination, the Auditor General however advised Supreme Audit Institutions to be careful so as “not to get the institution involved in public debates,” saying the key question remains ‘how vocal should SAI be on social media?’
Speaking on how SAIs can support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, he pointed out that SAIs can baseline, benchmark and track progress across the various institutions responsible for delivery of the government’s commitment under each SDG.
He also stated that SAIs can also invest in their capacity to give expert recommendations to key institutions, adding that SAI reports should be timely and that the possible efficiency savings or gains should be clear.