By: Justicia Shipena
The Office of the Auditor-General has tabled 105 audit reports to the National Assembly for the 2021/2022 financial year.
This was revealed by the Minister in the Presidency Christine //Hoebes while motivating the budget allocation of the office for the financial year 2023/24 in the National Assembly on Thursday.
According to her, the Auditor General’s reports over the years have identified governance and public finance management gaps that need to be addressed by accounting officers, providing independent audit assurance to stakeholders.
The 105 tabled audit reports are that of local authorities, government offices, ministries and agencies (OMAs), state-owned enterprises (SOEs), funds and regional councils.
The Auditor General’s office also tabled three performance audit reports covering the management of the drought relief programme in Namibia, management and implementation of the food bank programme and a follow up audit on unemployment among the Namibian youth.
//Hoebes said the tabled reports indicate the government’s understanding toward the relevance of performance audit to nation development as well as its willingness to support the audit type.
She added that for local governments and regional councils, a total of 67 audits were created and approved.
“It is also noteworthy that International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) are utilised by 95% of regional councils and local authorities,” she said.
However, she said financial statement submission delays and non-submission continue to persist to be a challenge for the Auditor-General.
//Hoebes stated that the main reason for this is that there is a lack of capacity in compiling annual financial statements by the financial accountants.
“This can be due to a lack of qualified staff. This results in the needless hiring of private consultants who add to the budget of the Councils while providing little benefit for the training of financial staff.”
To encourage Councils to equip their accountants to prepare financial accounts, //Hoebes said the Auditor-General has gained treasury authorisation to exempt local bodies from paying audit fees.
Hence she said the Auditor-General’s audit reports are essential for maintaining public trust in the public sector.
In addition, during the 2023/24 financial year, the office intends to finalise 152 audit reports.
“These include 33 government audit reports, 73 regional and local authority and statutory body audit reports, together with 33 assets inspection audits. A cumulative amount of 12 specialised audit reports, including compliance audit reports and information system audit reports,”she said.
//Hoebes stated that the Auditor-General will also conduct an environmental audit on wildlife management to determine whether the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Namibian Police are effectively, economically, and efficiently managing wildlife and national parks.
“Audit reports on a combined performance and information system audit on the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) at the Ministry of Finance and a full information system audit on civil registration process at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security will be conducted.”
//Hoebes said in the 2023/24 financial year, the office will pursue three main programmes, namelypublic expenditure oversight, independence and legal framework and policy coordination and support services.
“An amount of N$76 million is required for public expenditure oversight, N$4 million for independence and legal framework is required and the policy coordination and support services of N$38 million.”
Hence she said to enable the office of the Auditor-General to implement its programmes, a total amount of N$119 million is required.
“The significance of having an effective and well-resourced office of the Auditor-General for this country cannot be overstated,” //Hoebes concluded.