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Opinions on the role and functions of the Audit Bureau

Mar 27,2023 - Last updated at Mar 27,2023

Conversations are currently taking place about the Audit Bureau, its role, functions and structure, and about the annual reports prepared by the Audit Bureau and the violations and observations they contain. Therefore, I would like to highlight my opinion in this regard.

First: Auditing should be on two levels, first at the level of the government as a whole, and secondly at the level of government ministries, department and institutions, and providing the prime minister with any violations or observations to address them.

Second: The increase in the size of the annual report and the number of its pages does not necessarily constitute a positive indicator of the performance of the Audit Bureau, and perhaps vice versa, because the role of the Audit Bureau is not merely to detect violations and errors only, but rather to prevent their occurrence. In addition, if violations and errors occur, it is necessary to address them as soon as possible before they escalate and multiply their effects and impacts. The Audit Bureau mission is not phishing, detection or limitation of errors as much as it is preventing errors and violations from occurring and addressing them if they occur. Therefore, what is contained in the report is only what reaches a dead end after exhausting the solutions with the authority related to the violation and its relevant references, gradually, up to the prime minister.

Third: Focus on core and strategic issues according to importance, risk, impact and severity.

Fourth: Enhance audit quality assurance in specialised technical issues through competent work teams and implementing periodic, unknown and unstructured audit rounds to inspect the level of audit quality in the various control directorates.

Fifth: Activating administrative oversight, the extent of implementation of decisions and regulations, and the extent of compliance with them, due to the financial impact of this, whether lost revenues or wasted expenses.

Sixth: Activate oversight of the overall performance, as the allocation of budgets is supposed to lead to achieving goals at their targeted levels through specific relevant performance indicators.

Seventh: Follow-up government performance in achieving the sustainable development goals issued by the United Nations and the most prominent international indicators issued by specialised international bodies such as the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. This is in addition to following up the implementation of the national modernisation plans with their economic and administrative tracks and their evaluation reports.

Eighth: The Audit Bureau constitutes a house of expert that informs the prime minister and the government in general on deficiencies with a view to addressing them or opportunities for development in order to adopt them.

Ninth: In order for the Audit Bureau to audit the tasks related to administrative, financial and procurement affairs, and the rest of the support services (that is, tasks outside the scope of the constitutional role) in the legislative and judicial authorities, the concerned ministry must carry out these tasks and the employees responsible for them are subordinate to the concerned ministry. In this case, the Ministry concerned with parliamentary affairs in relation to the two parts of the Parliament, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and the Ministry of Justice in relation to the judicial authority and the Constitutional Court. In this proposition, a fortification of the authorities and a consecration of their focus on their constitutional duties.

Tenth: The Audit Bureau is an oversight arm for government-owned companies and companies owned by Social Security Corporation. Therefore, follow-up and evaluation processes must be activated according to scientific and professional bases on these companies, their plans, budgets, business results, boards of directors, memberships, decisions, privileges, and so on.

Eleventh: Overseeing the general structure of the budget and its implementation in both parts, revenues and expenditures, its general performance, defects, irregularities, distortions, bills for medical treatments and funds, in addition to syndicate pension funds and the like.

Twelfth: The successful implementation of the Bureau’s tasks requires a complete and professional understanding of the nature of the role of the government, its ministries, departments, institutions, structures, and the legislation that regulates its work. As for understanding auditing and financial advisory, apart from full knowledge of the nature of government tasks, it offers absolutely nothing and does not guarantee any success. It should be noted that no institution might be affiliated with any authority other than the executive authority. Accordingly, the Audit Bureau and its leadership are subordinate to the Council of Ministers and the prime minister, not the House of Representatives.

In conclusion, the performance of the state is the outcome of the performance of its authorities, the efficiency and effectiveness of the performance of the oversight bodies contribute to enhancing the performance of the executive authority, and therefore the strength of the State Audit Bureau is a necessity and an utmost government interest.

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