Congresses and Conferences

International Journal of Government Auditing – July 2010

XI ASOSAI Assembly and 4th ASOSAI Symposium

The XI ASOSAI Assembly and 4th ASOSAI Symposium were held October 12-15, 2009, in Islamabad, Pakistan. Participants included 138 delegates from 31 member SAIs and observers from the INTOSAI Secretariat and the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI). The ASOSAI Governing Board met for its 40th and 41st meetings before and after the assembly and symposium, respectively.

Participants in the ASOSAI Assembly in Islamabad, Pakistan, in October 2009.
Participants in the ASOSAI Assembly in Islamabad, Pakistan, in October 2009.

The inaugural ceremony of the assembly was chaired by Farooq H. Naek, Chairman of the Senate (upper house of the Parliament) of Pakistan. Liu Jiayi, then Chairman of ASOSAI and Auditor General of China National Audit Office, and Josef Moser, INTOSAI Secretary General and Auditor General of Austria, welcomed the attendees during the opening ceremony.

In his inaugural address, Mr. Naek stated, “Supreme Audit Institutions are important pillars of good governance. They play a crucial role in ensuring that public resources are managed and utilized with financial propriety and in compliance with the laws and rules. The greater the powers, independence, and capacity of audit institutions, the greater will be the impact on the country’s financial management and operations besides promoting transparency, accountability, and good governance.” He emphasized that the “spirit of democracy lies in openness, fair play, transparency, and accountability. An efficient and effective SAI goes hand in hand with democracy and good governance.” Mr. Naek expressed his hope that the deliberations and discussions in the assembly and the symposium would be productive and contribute to the promotion of good governance—a common goal we all cherish.

First Plenary Session

During the first plenary session, the assembly approved reports on ASOSAI’s (1) activities since the 2006 assembly in China, (2) 2008 financial statements and the Audit Committee report on those statements, (3) strategic plan, (4) training activities, including IDI-INTOSAI activities for ASOSAI, (5) eighth research project on environmental auditing, and (6) journal and Web site. Reports on INTOSAI’s Finance and Administration and Knowledge Sharing Committees were also presented.

The assembly also discussed the ASOSAI strategic plan. In view of the significant progress made under the plan, the assembly approved the recommendation of the 40th ASOSAI Governing Board meeting to develop an updated 5-year strategic plan for 2010–2014 and to set up a task force to carry out this work.

The assembly approved an amendment to the ASOSAI Charter making the ASOSAI Training Administrator a member of the Governing Board. As a result, the Board of Audit of Japan, the current ASOSAI Training Administrator, has become a board member. The assembly also increased the size of the Governing Board from 9 to 11 members, with the outgoing Chairman and Secretary General serving for one additional term to recognize their past contributions and provide continuity in the board’s functioning.

The assembly approved the recommendation that ASOSAI’s rules and regulations explicitly reflect the board’s responsibility to seek and nominate the next host/Secretary General candidate and nominate the ASOSAI representative to the INTOSAI Governing Board.

The assembly recognized the best article published in the ASOSAI journal (the Asian Journal of Government Audit) over the preceding 3 years. The journal’s Board of Editors (the heads of the SAIs of the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and India) served as the panel of judges and named “Problems of Risk Assessment in Group Financial Statements” by Tanweer Ahmed of the SAI of Pakistan, published in the October 2007 issue, as the best article.

During the first plenary session, the chairmanship of ASOSAI was transferred from Liu Jiayi, Auditor General of China, to Tanwir Ali Agha, Auditor General of Pakistan. On that occasion, Mr. Liu thanked the ASOSAI community for its contributions and support during his tenure and expressed his anticipation of ASOSAI’s continued success in the future. Mr. Agha acknowledged ASOSAI’s progress under China’s leadership and his appreciation for Mr. Liu’s stewardship of the organization. Mr. Agha assured ASOSAI members that he would focus on carrying ASOSAI’s mission forward within the framework of its charter and with the cooperation, assistance, and support of the ASOSAI family and its strategic partners.

Second Plenary Session

During the second plenary session, the assembly approved the Governing Board recommendation that the SAI of India host the XII ASOSAI Assembly in 2012. The assembly also elected the SAIs of Kuwait, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Vietnam, and Iraq to the Governing Board and approved the selection of the SAI of Korea as the next Secretary General. The assembly also approved the ASOSAI budget for 2009–2011 and the report of the ASOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing for 2006–2009.

During the second plenary session, Hwangsik Kim, Chairman, Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea, took over as Secretary General from Vinod Rai, Comptroller and Auditor General of India. In his remarks, Mr. Kim noted that the 21st century is characterized by ever-changing information and that SAIs need to commit themselves to ongoing renewal and innovation to keep pace with changing demands. He assured the ASOSAI fraternity that he would focus on fully supporting member SAIs as they take initiatives to face the challenges of the 21st century..

Fourth ASOSAI Symposium

The 4th ASOSAI Symposium, held on October 14, addressed the role of SAIs in enhancing the effectiveness of public expenditures and was moderated by Tanwir Ali Agha, the new ASOSAI Chairman. Vinod Rai, then Secretary General of ASOSAI, noted in his opening remarks the significant role that public audit plays in enhancing the effectiveness of public expenditures. Muhammad Anwar, Deputy Auditor-General of Pakistan delivered the keynote address, followed by special reports from the SAIs of Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam and a panel discussion by representatives from the SAIs of Bhutan, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Russia.

The following common elements emerged during the presentations and the subsequent open discussion among all participants:

  • Stakeholders around the world are interested in enhancing the effectiveness of public expenditures. SAIs have a responsibility to ensure that the expectations of society at large are met.
  • Timely accountability is very important in ensuring effectiveness, and SAIs play a fundamental role in ensuring effectiveness through high-quality, timely reports. Delayed audit reports are not relevant and do not enhance effectiveness or support accountability. Transparency also plays a significant role in this regard. The media in particular highlight specific issues.
  • To evaluate effectiveness, appropriate and acceptable performance indicators must be developed to establish benchmarks against which the effectiveness of expenditures can be measured. The SAI of Malaysia has developed an innovative Accountability Index against which agencies are rated; this concept generated significant interest among participants.
  • SAIs cannot play their roles in isolation. They must develop links with other stakeholders, such as Parliaments, the executive branch, media, and citizens. SAIs need to create greater awareness of the problems they identify. However, they need to do this in accordance with the environment and legal and constitutional frameworks within which they operate.
  • Value-for-money/performance audit and special audit reports are appropriate and effective tools in reporting on the effectiveness of public expenditures.
  • SAIs must insist on robust and rigorous internal controls. SAIs must ensure that internal controls are not only in place but are also effective. The effectiveness of internal audit must be similarly evaluated.
  • While high quality and timely audit reports are important, it is equally important that there be compliance with the directives issued by the competent forum at which the reports are discussed. New audit reports must start by identifying issues of non-compliance.
  • The quality of institutions and processes has a significant impact on the effectiveness of public expenditures.

For additional information, contact the China National Audit Office:

E-mail: cnao@audit.gov.cn
Web site: www.cnao.gov.cn