The main objective of the seminar was to reach a common understanding of the main areas of improvement for the SAOA, and then identify the most important and feasible strategic actions to address these issues.
IDI and the SAOA has had a bilateral partnership in 2015-16. The primary objective of the cooperation has been to conduct assessments of the performance of SAOA related to International Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs). SAOA has carried out both an assessment using the SAI Performance Measurement Framework (SAI PMF) and ICATs of financial, compliance and performance audit (see explanation of ICATs here). The assessments are to be used for improvements in SAOA and as inputs for the forthcoming strategic planning process.
The assessments of SAOA show that in spite of a challenging context and a short history, the organization is able to carry out several important audits and report on these. This includes the annual audit of the consolidated government accounts (“Qatia”). However, the SAOA has several areas of improvement which will require some clear priorities and concerted effort over time. At the seminar, the following main challenges of the SAOA were prioritized for discussions:
• Stakeholder relations with the media, civil society organizations and the legislature
• Audit of state owned enterprises, hereunder coverage, methodology and documentation
• Performance audit, hereunder coverage, planning, execution and reporting
• IT-audits of government and use of IT in the audit process
• Quality management of SAO’s own processes, hereunder quality control of the work of the provinces
• Systematic capacity development of the SAOA
The SAI PMF report describes these challenges of the SAOA more in detail, and provides a holistic picture of the SAI’s performance. The report is the ownership of the SAOA and must be requested directly from SAOA. A summary of the report is intended to be published on the SAOA webpage.
The SAOA will during the first half of 2017 revise their strategic plan. For all the six challenges listed above, strategic actions assumed to be effective and feasible were identified at the seminar. The SAOA will have to refine and specify these actions further over the next months before deciding a new strategic plan. Hopefully the strategic plan can be the fundament for both internal efforts of improvements and capacity development as well as external support to SAOA the next years to come. This is important as there is a risk of different and overlapping needs assessments and plans being produced by different providers of support to SAIs, which both hampers strategic efforts over time and leads to double-work.
IDI and the SAOA will continue the cooperation through regional and global IDI programmes. Currently the SAOA is a part of the IDI programme for audit offices in Asia on a performance audit of disaster management. SAOA has also shown great interest in participating in IDI’s programmes on fighting corruption, audit of SDGs and ISSAI certification. Eventual participation of the SAOA in any of these programmes will be clarified in 2017 and 2018.
Participants: Milad Karamkhail, Lutfullah Merwais, Shafiq Ahmad, Ahmad Shekib Hamraz, Hamidullah Faqiri, Aminullah Younasi, Abdullah Ameri, Sayed M. Mahdi Hussaini, Syed Waseem Abbas Kazmi, Yngvild Herje Arnesen, Ghulam Sarwar Hashemi, Sayed Amin Amin, Hanan Maroof, Mohibullah Ahangar, Bashir Ahmad Rashidy. Photo: Jostein F. Tellnes