In order to ensure transparency in concerned departments, the Department of Auditor General of Pakistan (DAGP) has planned to audit all expenditures linked with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
For a timely input to the legislature and the executive, the 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 a statement issued by the AGP office.
Chairing a meeting to discuss strategy for an audit of COVID related expenditures, the Auditor General of Pakistan Javaid Jehangir stressed that all field offices including Directorate General Audit (Climate Change & Environment) and Directorate General Audit (Social Safety Nets) should act in a coordinated manner to produce quality audit reports of COVID-19 related expenditures.
It was observed in the meeting that since the pandemic unfolded in Pakistan in February 2020, the role of the Auditor General of Pakistan has become crucial to supporting the government response mechanisms through maintaining public financial management discipline and ensuring transparency and accountability.
The AGP said the audit of COVID-19 expenditures assumes more importance keeping in view the expectations of the stakeholders such as parliament, media, the general public, the government, and their interest in knowing whether the funds utilized for combating COVID are being spent in a transparent and efficient manner.
It was decided in the meeting that Field Audit Offices (FAOs) will comprehensively cover all the possible areas of the expenditures linked with COVID including procurement of goods and services, advertisements, storage, relief funds, quarantine centers, services by hospitals and public health institutions, testing, ration procurement, and distribution.
The Auditor-General further emphasized that audit considerations arising from changes due to pandemic should 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 the success of the audit assignments.
Moreover, using new or existing IT resources in the current circumstances of the pandemic (use of ACL, CAATs, etc.) will make the audit activity more productive and result oriented.
The meeting was attended by Additional Auditor General-l&II, all Deputy Auditors General and concerned Directors General of Field Audit Offices dealing with COVID audit.