Audit Service timely reports, plus for democracy

BY: Daily Graphic
Audit Service timely reports, plus for democracy
Audit Service timely reports, plus for democracy

The role played by the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) is critical to good governance practices.

There is no denying the fact that our public sector faces some credibility perceptions.

To put things right, demand new ways of doing things and one of the ways is what the GAS has done in recent times.

For the first time in 10 years, the GAS has presented to Parliament, all the 12 statutory audit reports required to be made available to the legislature by June 30 each year.

Undoubtedly, the submission of all the reports before the June 30 deadline is a remarkable feat that, according to the service, had not been achieved in the country since President John Agyekum Kufuor left office in 2009.

This is so because, for previous auditor generals, it has been quite difficult to meet this statutory constitutional obligation.

For the current Auditor General and, for that matter, GAS, to be able to do this deserves commendation.

It is extremely important for the service to strive to fulfil this major constitutional requirement.

We at the Daily Graphic believe that the deadline for submission of statutory audit reports was not given as a fluke or in a vacuum.

The essence is for the reports to be submitted on time so as to enhance good governance practices such as further cross-checks from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to firm up the reports.

There are many positives to gain when audit reports are submitted in real time. In all things, we trust timelines are very important. We do not need to report history when the matter is long “dead”.

What good will it be if reports are presented so late in the day that further verifications and cross-checks will be difficult to do either because those involved may have been dead or not immediately available?

To get Chief Executive Officers or those involved to answer for their deeds, we do not need to present these reports so late.

Presenting these reports late could also bring about difficulty in getting financial statements signed or cross-checked.

One good thing is that the reports, which have been presented to Parliament, will guide lawmakers, especially members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), who rely on such reports for the execution of their mandate of holding public office holders accountable.

Many good things may have accounted for the achievement of this feat. The good working relations between the Board and the GAS and the Board’s support for the work of the Audit Service cannot be discounted.

While at it, we wish to also draw attention to the conditions under which our auditors are working. There is need for training and retraining of officers of the service.

We are satisfied that tenders have been approved for the construction of 19 new district and regional offices for the Audit Service.

Additionally, six new regional offices would be constructed in the newly created regions of Oti, Western North, Bono East, Savanah, North East and the Ahafo regions.

All these are positive developments which can go a long way to inject efficiency in the work of the GAS.

In furtherance to this, it will be a step in the right direction for the GAS to deepen relations with PAC because they will work on the reports. The staff of GAS must easily be available to answer their questions to help them understand the reports because we know that for a layman, the way you may understand the reports may be different from how a technical person will see them.

Bridging the gap between the layman’s view and the professional viewpoints will, therefore, be very useful.

The current GAS has set the pace and it cannot but continue to work hard to ensure that its audit reports are presented to the legislature on time because time is of the essence.