WGPD Discusses Pandemic Experiences at Annual Meeting
The INTOSAI Working Group on Public Debt (WGPD), led by the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of the Philippines, held its virtual Annual Meeting, with the theme “Auditing Public Debt in a Crisis (COVID-19 Considerations and the Public Debt Auditor’s Experience),” on May 19-20, 2021. This was the final such meeting presided over by Attorney Michael G. Aguinaldo, WGPD’s Chairperson, given the forthcoming expiration of his term as Chairperson of SAI Philippines.
The meeting offered a rich discussion of experiences auditing public debt during the pandemic, with presentations by distinguished guest speakers from the World Bank, INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), International Monetary Fund, and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, as well as by member SAIs, including those from Argentina, Brazil, Finland, Georgia, India, Indonesia, and Portugal.
Chairperson Aguinaldo highlighted WGPD’s major accomplishments over the past year, including approval by the INTOSAI Governing Board of the revised WGPD Terms of Reference and GUID 5250 (Guidance on the Audit of Public Debt) in November 2020, and the issuance of a joint quality assurance statement by IDI and WGPD on Audit of Public Debt Management: A Handbook for SAIs in December 2020.
WGPD also takes pride in the progress of its five other projects, four of which are currently developing exposure drafts:
- Guidelines in the Audit of Fiscal Exposures – Implications for Debt Management
- Guidelines in the Audit of Government Guarantees
- Compendium Document on Debt Authorization and Contracting
- Mapping of SAIs’ Mandates on the Audit of Public Debt, Institutional Capacities, and the Regional Organizations’ Support and Resources
The Compendium of Case Report: Recent Health and other Crises and its Impact on Public Debt Management is currently at the proposal stage.
These projects will advance sound practices for auditing and managing debt, in accordance with WGPD’s mandate set under the INTOSAI Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Services Committee (Goal 3) and WGPD’s Work Plan 2020-2022. A team will also soon be formed to determine the next set of activities WGPD will undertake under Work Plan 2023-2025 and Strategic Plan 2023-2028.
WGPD and World Bank Team up for Debt Management Auditors Week
WGPD, in collaboration with the World Bank, successfully organized a series of events as part of “Debt Management Auditors Week” from June 14-18, 2021.
The first event was a five-day virtual training for debt management practitioners and external auditors on the rationale, scope, coverage, and application of the revised Debt Management Performance Assessment (DeMPA). WGPD member SAIs from Bhutan, Brazil, Egypt, and North Macedonia participated in the training.
On June 18, 2021, public debt auditors and debt managers participated in a webinar on the “Role of External Audits in Improving Public Debt Management.” This webinar included a presentation by WGPD Chair Michael G. Aguinaldo, who spoke about the importance of conducting audits of debt management, the challenges and opportunities faced by SAIs when doing so, and collaboration between debt management offices and SAIs. Ms. Dawn Simpson of the U.S. Government Accountability Office and Mr. Branko Smilevski of SAI North Macedonia served as discussants in Chairman. Aguinaldo’s presentation and shared their own views and experiences.
Capping off the week-long event was a special virtual session on “How INTOSAI Builds Capacity of Auditors.” During this candid exchange, public debit auditors from WGPD member SAIs shared challenges they have experienced in conducting performance audits for public debt management (PDM), as well as resources for building capacity to strengthen PDM outcomes.
Mr. Anibal Kohlubher of SAI Argentina presented on INTOSAI capacity-building programs and initiatives, and how these efforts impact the audits performed by SAIs. And Ms. Jonna Carlson of SAI Finland shared her experience conducting performance audits of public debt.
WGPD looks forward to providing more opportunities like this successful joint event for its members, partners, and stakeholders to exchange experience and knowledge.