Sep 22, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Auditor General, (AG) Deodat Sharma has handed over the 2020 Audit Report to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir.
The report is, however, not available to the public, but will be after it is presented in the National Assembly, which is set to reconvene on October 10.
During the handing over ceremony held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara on Monday, Sharma revealed the audit office was able to complete the report before the required deadline, despite facing challenges that the COVID-19 virus imposed on the working environment.
He noted that with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, the audit office aggressively pursued the vaccination of all of its staff members.
“With 93 percent of staffers at the audit office vaccinated, we have not only met our statutory deadline for the submission of the Auditor General’s annual report, but we are able to present the 2020 Auditor General’s report ahead of the deadline,” Sharma said.
He noted that it’s the audit office’s goal to achieve timely reporting of the results to the legislature and, ultimately, the public.
In the meantime, the AG revealed that the audit office has been building capacity for auditing and transparency, through its partnership with the Canadian Auditing and Accountability Foundation (CAAF). The performance audit unit has been the main beneficiary of a training and mentorship programme.
“As a result, we are able to complete 4 performance audits, which will be submitted soon to the Speaker,” the AG added.
Apart from this, Sharma noted that audit office, through support from CAAF is currently training staff in anticipation of the office’s prospective role in the Oil and Gas sector.
“Apart from the staff being previously trained in the extractive industries, there is currently a staff member within the office, who is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Oil and Gas at the University of Bedfordshire, London, while members on the performance audit section with the help CAAP are being trained how to audit the oil and gas sector,” he said.
Further, Mr. Sharma noted that Audit Office is continuing to give attention to several special audits, including that of the government’s $25,000 COVID-19 cash grant.
Sharma said he personally travelled to Region Two to ensure that persons received their monies and to listen to complains, if any.
He urged that, persons who have complaints can submit same via the Audit Office website. “Wherever possible, we’re checking on the payments,” the AG assured.
He noted, however, that his work in auditing the distribution of the grant has been hampered because of the peculiar COVID-19 situation in each region.
Three months ago, the government started the second phase of its $25,000 per household COVID-19 relief cash grant, with holders of the pink slips or query forms receiving their funds.
In 2020, $4.5 billion was allocated for the first phase of the grant, which started in September. An estimated 40,565 families were expected to benefit in the second phase, with some $1.1 billion to be expended.
At the end of August, the distribution had already been completed in Regions One, Two, Seven, Eight and Nine. Up to early September, distribution continued in areas across Regions Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten.
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