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Audit Office scrutinised by PAC/PEC

Oct 20, 2016, 10:00 AM | Article By: Kaddijatou Jawo

The National Audit Office (NAO) yesterday presented their annual report and financial statement to the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committees (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly.

Presenting the report before lawmakers, the Principal Auditor of NAO, Baba .S. Drammeh, said the National Audit Office has now been granted autonomous status in line with the constitution of the Republic of The Gambia.

He said their stakeholders would now expect the National Audit Office, as a public institution, to be effective in their operations.

“We have to modernise to meet the demands and challenges in our work and we have prepared a strategic development plan covering the period 2014-2018,” he said.

The strategic development plan, he added, would respond to government initiatives, legal development, needed staff development, planned staff recruitment, technological development, logistical needs to meet planned developments, and changes to international accounting and audit requirements.

He added that the need for transparency and accountability in every sphere of public life could hardly be overemphasized and, as supreme audit institution, they believe in leading by example to that end.

In addition, he noted, there is also the Code of Conduct of The Gambia Civil Service issued by the Personnel Management Office and the Code of Conduct set out in Article 221 to 225 of the constitution of The Gambia.

Mr Drammeh further told lawmakers the constraints faced by the National Audit Office, such as the recruitment and retention of suitable qualified staff, as well as the unavailability of regular transport to ferry staff to their workplaces and for treks.

Whilst NAO were hopeful the recent enactment of the new audit law would go a long way in addressing the recruitment and retention issues of the office, the availability of vehicles to transport staff to their workplaces and trek could pose the greatest threat to the effectiveness of the office, he added.

He said the NAO would increase its staff complement in the coming years, which would place greater demand on the available fleet of vehicles and would, therefore, require additional vehicles to ensure smooth execution of its operations.

Mr Drammeh further cited what NAO does. The office is designed to facilitate by ensuring accountability of the executive to the legislature, and the establishment of audit is inherent in public financial administration, as management of public funds represent a trust.

The National Audit Office would return to the National Assembly today for consideration of their annual activity report and financial statement.