Auditor-general of the Federation (AuGF), Anthony Ayine, has identified years of weak auditing, especially in developing countries, as the root of poor appreciation by citizens of the value of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in the accountability cycle.
He was one of the lead speakers at the 9th International Public Sector Conference (IPSC) organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in Prague, Czech Republic, which ended at the weekend.
"Years of weak auditing cause the average citizen to be unaware of the value and importance of the SAI as an institution that is central to the accountability cycle.
"There is need for the citizens to participate more and become better aware of the role of the SAI," he asserted.
On the principal challenges facing SAIs globally, Ayine said it was regrettable that "the INTOSAI Lima Declaration of 1977 on the prerequisites for the independent and effective functioning of SAI is yet to be well applied across many developing countries."
The Declaration of Lima, adopted in 1977 by the IX International Congress of International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) in Peru, is considered the Magna Carta of government audit and defines the prerequisite for its independent and effective functioning.
INTOSAI, founded in 1953 in Havana, Cuba, is the worldwide affiliation of governmental entities comprising chief financial controller, comptroller-general, auditor-general offices of nations, with headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
While recognising social media as "a key channel" for information dissemination, Ayine, however, advised SAIs to be careful so as "not to get the institution involved in public debates," saying the key question remains 'how vocal should SAI be on social media?'
According to him, SAIs can baseline, benchmark and track progress across the various institutions responsible for delivery of government's commitment under each SDG.
He told his audience that SAIs "can also invest in their capacity to give expert recommendations to these key institutions," while SAI reports "should be timely and that the possible efficiency savings or gains should be clear."
Speaking on the role SAIs can play in supporting SDGs implementation, Ayine, who was recently appointed into the African Union (AU) Board of External Auditors, said: "Year-on-year audits by the SAIs will help maintain the focus on achieving the SDGs, and will help ensure that improvements that are achieved are sustained."