The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, through its local office in Hyderabad, Telangana, hosted the 2018 International Organization of Supreme Audit Institution (INTOSAI) Working Group on Public Debt (WGPD) meeting with the theme “Engaging SAIs Toward Robust Public Debt Auditing” in July. Ms. Anjali Anand Srivastav, India’s Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General, welcomed the 52 delegates from 23 Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI).
In his opening remarks, Mr. Michael G. Aguinaldo, Republic of the Philippines Commission on Audit Chairperson and WGPD Chair, noted, ultimately, the group’s goal is to devise guidance toward publishing internationally accepted public debt standards and best practices.
Mr. Aguinaldo reported key working group accomplishments over the past year, including progress made to the WGPD Terms of Reference, Handbook of Meetings and Project 2.9, “Consolidating and Aligning the Audit of Public Debt with International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) 100.” Subtask leads provided Project 2.9 status updates, including team composition, scope of work, respective activities, draft guidance contents, issues and challenges moving forward. Other WGPD projects were reported using the reporting dashboard submitted to the INTOSAI Knowledge Sharing Committee in June.
Keynote Speaker, Dr. Govinda Rao, Economist, Emeritus Professor of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, India, highlighted the importance of a fiscal council within government, especially in developing countries. A serious problem with budget management inefficiencies exists, he said, that gives rise to a strong need for independent fiscal councils to assist in calibrating fiscal policies, which, in turn, will promote a sustainable level of debt.
Ms. Shefali Andaleeb Srivastava, representing the Forum for INTOSAI Professional Pronouncements (FIPP), provided attendees with a presentation on the revised Strategic Development Plan (SDP) for INTOSAI’s Framework of Professional Pronouncements (IFPP). She noted that as a permanent INTOSAI body, the FIPP considers and proposes how to develop the ISSAI framework, and the FIPP’s main role is to ensure the quality of all IFPP pronouncements.
Mr. Manish Kumar, SAI India, provided an update on the development of WGPD’s Community of Practice (CoP). Mr. Kumar, who manages the CoP, cited the community’s primary purpose is to develop a global cyber society for the working group.
Highlights of this year’s meeting also included presentations by various SAIs on national current debt management situations and public debt auditing practices, centered on the adopted theme of the meeting. These presentations paved the way to a meaningful exchange of experiences among participating members.
The WGPD welcomed seven new member-SAIs at this year’s meeting, bringing the total to 34. At the event’s conclusion, SAI Azerbaijan confirmed hosting the 2019 WGPD meeting, and SAI Bhutan expressed interest in hosting the group in 2020.