Guyana Canada sign pact to strengthen local auditing systems

[In the photo, from left] Deputy Auditor General of the Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia, Sheila Dodds, Auditor General of Guyana, Deodat Sharma, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee [standing], and CAAF Programme Officer, Marc Belanger. (DPI photo)

THE Audit Office of Guyana and the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation (CAAF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which is geared at improving local auditing systems.

The programme is a unique seven-year agreement which aims to strengthen the local capacity to audit priority topics, particularly those relating to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gender equality, environment and climate change, and resource extraction and Information Technology (IT).

“Last August a comprehensive baseline assessment was undertaken, identifying short and long term needs of the audit office, as well as outlining the detailed performance measurement framework,” said Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee, during her remarks at the signing ceremony at the Ramada Hotel, on Sunday evening.
She said, through the MoU, there is going to be in-country training, work and training experience for fellowships in Canada and programmes with members of the legislature to ensure that they are better equipped to utilise performance audit, to inform decision making and hold Government accountable.

“We use the audit process as an important way to ensure the efficient use of the funds…we are committed to supporting innovation and reforms through improved accountability and transparency, by strengthening the capacity of government at all levels to establish inclusive and accountable institutions to ensure public services better respond to the needs of our people,” said High Commissioner, Chatterjee.

The high commissioner believes that the timing of this programme is also critical, as it will directly support the transformation of Guyana’s economy into an oil producing nation.
Guyana is on the cusp of a major oil and gas boom, which is expected to transform the country but, she believes that it is imperative that Government programmes are managed with due regard for economy, efficiency and environmental impact.

In that regard, Programme Officer of CAAF, Marc Belanger, said the foundation’s International Governance Accountability and Performance (IGAP) programme contributes to improved transparency, effectiveness, accountability and governance in Government’s management of public resources and delivering services for citizens. The programme has been implemented in four countries which include Guyana, Senegal, Rwanda and Vietnam.
CAAF and Global Affairs Canada signed the contribution agreement for the IGAP programme on March 29, 2018 and have planned that the programme will run until March 21, 2025.

The programme will work with each country’s Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in order to build cacpity, increase effectiveness and strengthen relationships.
“Accountability is best served by auditors with the knowledge and skills to produce a report that makes an impact,” said Belanger.

Over the years, Guyana has been working with CAAF to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills to effectively audit the various sectors.

Auditor General, Deodat Sharma, said the Audit Office of Guyana and CAAF have mutual goals to contribute to improved transparency, effectiveness and accountability and governance in office management of public resources and the delivery of services to citizens.

“This goal is further being realised through an effective partnership between the Audit office of Guyana and the CAAF,” he said, adding that the partnership spans more than two decades and began with the Canadian Comprehensive Audit Foundation.

During the two decades, the foundation has provided unwavering cacpity building support through training and other resources which have buttressed the performance audit practice of the audit office.

Numerous officers have been trained in the rudiments of performance auditing with an example of such training being the recent evidence and analysis course, which was held during the first week of this month.

“There is sufficient and appropriate evidence that the partnership has been beneficial over the years,” said Sharma.

The beneficiaries have gained invaluable knowledge and skills, which have enabled the audit office to produce reports that make an impact and add value to stakeholders.
The signing of the MoU signals the foundation’s continued commitment to the development and capacity building process of the audit office.