by Manal Alduhaimi, General Court of Audit of Saudi Arabia
The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has hindered many Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) from performing their regular work, especially those of developing countries. This has made it difficult for SAIs to fulfill their role of promoting good governance, ensuring transparency and accountability, and fostering efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources. One notable challenge for SAIs has been the shift to working remotely, due to limited information and communication technology (ICT).
INTOSAI members have a responsibility to help each other operate at the highest level possible. Consequently, the General Court of Audit (GCA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—under the leadership of its president, Dr. Hussam Alangari—has established a Saudi Fund for SAI Improved Performance (Saudi FSIP). GCA has allocated 2 million U.S. dollars for this fund from 2020 to 2022.
Initially, the fund supported SAIs in the least developed countries, and the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), in their efforts to develop and implement SAI-led strategic plans. However, given the challenges posed by remote audits during the pandemic, the Saudi FSIP expanded its scope to offer emergency grants to SAIs in developing countries within Asia to enhance their resilience through improved ICT infrastructure and trainings.
In October 2020, GCA took the further step of expanding eligibility for the Saudi FSIP to all SAI members of the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI). The INTOSAI community has allocated 700,000 Euros from its surplus fund to SAIs in need. However, the fund is limited, and many SAIs have applied for assistance. By redirecting SAIs in Asia from INTOSAI funding to the Saudi FSIP, GCA is helping INTOSAI meet the increased need for assistance.
Regarding the Saudi FSIP, Dr. Hussam Alangari stated: “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.”
The initial feedback of SAIs that have received assistance from the Saudi FSIP has been extremely positive. These SAIs found that the grant from GCA bolstered their continuity of operations and enhanced their ICT infrastructure. GCA hopes that this support will also encourage SAIs to review and strengthen their emergency plans for business continuity. GCA has appreciated the opportunity to successfully collaborate with individual SAIs in the Asian region and will continue to look for opportunities to assist the global SAI community.
Members of the SAI community have a responsibility to contribute in assisting one another to form a world that is accountable and transparent.