by Manal Alduhaymi, General Court of Audit of Saudi Arabia, and Mark Keenan, U.S. Government Accountability Office
In complementary efforts, INTOSAI and the General Court of Audit of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the country’s Supreme Audit Institution (SAI), have provided funding to SAIs to help with continuity of operations during the pandemic.
Under the leadership of Dr. Hussam Alangari, Auditor General of Saudi Arabia, and Mr. Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, the INTOSAI ‘SAI Continuity during COVID-19’ grant provides funding for the purchase of information and communications technologies (ICT), as well as personal protective equipment, to respond to needs caused by the pandemic. In this unique effort, INTOSAI made a total of 700,000 euros available starting in October 2020 for a period of three years until expended. Each selected SAI is eligible to receive a maximum of 20,000 euros.
SAI Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Government Accountability Office—the SAI of the United States—have worked closely with the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) and the INTOSAI General Secretariat in carrying out the program.
From October 2020 through February 2021, INTOSAI awarded 36 SAIs over 400,000 euros for items such as laptops, internet connectivity, and protective equipment. These SAIs represent six of the seven INTOSAI regions. The program has received very positive feedback from the community, and recipients have begun using the funds and reporting on progress.
An Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS) awardee used its funding to purchase wireless access points and video conference upgrades, helping “continue our operations…which will guarantee adequate coverage and good quality of the institutional work.”
A European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI) awardee used its funding to help “meet the investment costs required in the VPN server and the upgrade of the HR System,” adding that “this investment provided the flexibility demanded by staff to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure continuity of operations.”
Funding remains available, and INTOSAI encourages SAIs to apply. Instructions for how to apply can be found here.
In a complementary effort, SAI Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Dr. Alangari, has established a Saudi Fund for SAI Improved Performance (Saudi FSIP). SAI Saudi Arabia allocated 2 million U.S. dollars for this fund from 2020 to 2022 to assist Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) members in enhancing their resilience through improved ICT infrastructure and trainings.
To further support the INTOSAI community, SAI Saudi Arabia is assisting a number of ASOSAI members that applied for the INTOSAI grant, thereby helping INTOSAI meet the increased need for assistance.
The initial feedback on the Saudi FSIP has been very positive, with SAIs finding that the grant bolstered their continuity of operations and enhanced their ICT infrastructure. Funding for the Saudi FSIP also remains available, and ASOSAI members are encouraged to apply. Instructions for how to apply can be found here.
For both grants, INTOSAI and SAI Saudi Arabia have appreciated the opportunity to successfully collaborate with individual SAIs and will continue to look for opportunities to assist the global SAI community.
“The grant program demonstrates the INTOSAI community’s commitment to assisting our international colleagues in fulfilling their mandates. Assisting SAIs with continuity of operations during the pandemic is particularly important in light of the multifaceted challenges the pandemic has presented to SAIs across the globe. I would like to thank the INTOSAI Governing Board and the Policy, Finance, and Administration Committee for their support of this program, and am particularly grateful to IDI and the General Secretariat for their collaboration in implementing the program.”
Mr. Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States
“The General Court of Audit of Saudi Arabia is always pleased to provide financial and technical support to the SAI community. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that no matter how large the globe may seem to be, it is apparent that we live in one world and what affects one individual may certainly affect others. In this respect, members of the SAI community have a responsibility to contribute in assisting one another to form a world that is accountable and transparent.”
Dr. Hussam Alangari, Auditor General of Saudi Arabia