Stakeholders expect more, says Vinod Rai

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is the new chairman of the 45-nation-strong Asian organisation of the Institutions of the Auditors General, Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI). Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai took over as its chairman from Muhammad Akhtar Rana, Auditor General of Pakistan, at the 12{+t}{+h}ASOSAI meeting here on Wednesday.

At the function, Mr. Rai talked of increasing demands from stakeholders to know more unlike in the past when public audit was rule-based and was concerned with probity and compliance alone. “The performance and results have altered the perception of the role of the Auditors General in most countries,” he said. The audit institution's role has expanded from merely being an auditor of the government's financial transactions to promoting an organisation's performance, and to become a powerful trustee of public good, he noted.

Mr. Rai said audit reports provide governments with the opportunity to make mid-course corrections and improve service delivery. Keeping in mind the increasing importance of environmental issues and to provide the necessary skills to auditors in auditing environmental issues, ASOSAI would be setting up an international environment audit training facility, he said.

Mr. Rai welcomed the UN General Assembly resolution recognising the autonomy and independence of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs). The resolution says, “SAIs can accomplish their tasks objectively and effectively only if they are independent of the audited entity and are protected against outside influence.”

Mr. Rai exhorted the Auditors General to upgrade their professional skills and help their respective countries combat the grave economic problems facing each nation. “These major challenges have imposed an onus on public audit institutions as well. We must widen the canvas beyond probity and compliance. The increasing demands from citizens and legislatures require AGs to transgress beyond being financial auditors to becoming objective evaluators of outcomes of government spending and the efficiency of government delivery channels,” he said.

In his speech, the outgoing chairman Mr. Rana expressed the hope that Mr. Rai would take the Auditors' institution to new heights. ASOSAI aims to promote understanding and cooperation among member institutions through exchange of ideas and experiences in the field of public audit, he said.

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