The Republic of the Philippines’ Commission on Audit (COA) hosted the 2017 annual meeting of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Working Group on Public Debt (WGPD) in Manila, Philippines, in September, hosting 37 delegates from 17 Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs).
Keynote Speaker Mr. Erwin D. Sta. Ana, Deputy Treasurer of the Philippines, opened the event by discussing the Philippines’ current debt situation and the debt management initiatives its national government employs. Mr. Sta. Ana presented several metrics to characterize the host country’s debt profile, illustrating the Philippines is in a sound fiscal position. The favorable debt metrics have resulted in an improved credit profile and landmark transactions that, in turn, have led to innovative financing sources. The Philippines’ national government continues to work on key initiatives to ensure debt sustainability in the long term.
WGPD’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022 was a highlight of this year’s meeting. The INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) acknowledged the strategic plan’s alignment with INTOSAI’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022, as well as the plan’s incorporation of capacity development, which paves the way for a more unified and competency-oriented approach to achieve INTOSAI goals.
IDI also expressed interest in the performance measurement framework the WGPD proposed and suggested focusing on WGPD project and initiative expected outcomes in addition to outputs using an evidence-based method to collect information.
The working group also discussed Project 2.9, “Consolidating and Aligning the Audit of Public Debt with ISSAI 100.” This major undertaking aims to develop a new INTOSAI Guidance (GUID) that applies ISSAI 100, “Fundamental Principles of Public Sector Auditing,” in conducting public debt financial, performance, and compliance audits. The project, expected to be finalized in December 2019, aspires to publish guidance that facilitates public debt audits and quality audit reports beneficial to sound public debt management and good governance.
The agenda also included a presentation on the “Audit of Lending and Borrowing Frameworks (ALBF),” a five-year program conducted by the IDI. IDI representatives provided beneficial information using the ALBF handbook, which focuses on strengthening audit performance and capacities in assessing borrowing and lending frameworks—a critical aspect of public debt auditing.
At the event’s conclusion, Mr. Manish Kumar, representing SAI India, confirmed his SAI was looking forward to hosting a productive and memorable WGPD meeting in October 2018.