Top auditor set to scrutinise Covid-19 expenditure

Updated 28 Aug 2020

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AGP Javaid Jehangir on Thursday presided over a meeting of various wings and field offices “to discuss strategy for audit of Covid-related expenditure”. — AFP/File
AGP Javaid Jehangir on Thursday presided over a meeting of various wings and field offices “to discuss strategy for audit of Covid-related expenditure”. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) on Thursday announced the decision to conduct a detailed and special audit of all funds allocated for and spent on Covid-19 activities including Rs1.24 trillion stimulus package.

AGP Javaid Jehangir on Thursday presided over a meeting of various wings and field offices “to discuss strategy for audit of Covid-related expenditure”.

He told participants that since the Covid-19 unfolded in Pakistan in February this year, the AGP’s role had become very important and crucial to support the government’s response mechanisms through maintaining public financial management discipline and ensuring transparency and accountability.

He asked all field officers including director general audit (climate change & environment) and director general (social safety nets) to act in a coordinated manner to produce quality audit reports of Covid-19 related expenditures.

“For a timely input to the legislature and the executive, the Department of Auditor General of Pakistan (DAGP) has planned to produce several short and quick reports on the Covid expenditure to assist the government in its drive against the deadly pandemic”, said an official statement.

The audit officers and staff were told that the audit of Covid-19 expenditures by the auditor general assumed more importance keeping in view the expectations of stakeholders such as parliament, media, general public and the governments and their interest in knowing whether the funds utilised for combating Covid-19 were spent in a transparent and efficient manner.

The meeting was attended by additional auditors general of Pakistan, all deputy auditor generals and concerned director generals of field audit offices dealing with Covid-19 audit.

It was decided in the meeting that field audit officers (FAOs) would comprehensively cover all the possible areas of the Covid related expenditure including procurement of goods and services, advertisements, storage, relief funds, quarantine centers, services by hospitals and public health institution, testing, ration procurements and distribution etc.

The AGP emphasised that audit considerations arising from changes due to pandemic shall be taken into account by the FAOs.

Impact on the planned audit approach of new or revised risks that have arisen because of Covid-19, including revision of risk assessments of the entities and responding to the assessed risks will be a key factor towards success of the audit assignments.

Moreover, using new, or flexing the use of existing information technology resources in the current circumstances of the pandemic would make the audit activity more productive and result oriented.

The participants were advised to use all the access control list (ACL) and computer assisted audit tools resources. ACL rules grant or deny access to certain digital file systems.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2020