Environmental audits for next year
By Devina Samaroo
As Guyana gears up for the production of oil, the Office of the Auditor General is seeking to play a greater role in the preservation of the environment by conducting environmental audits.
The Auditor General, Deodat Sharma told News Room on Friday that environmental audits involve a performance probe to ensure operations are not harmful to the surroundings.
“Maybe if the gas and oil regulations come up, we will examine it to see if they are protecting all these issues like the turtles and birds or if there is a section in it to make sure there is no oil spill,” he explained during an interview on the sidelines of an event at Parliament Buildings on Friday.
Regarding the capacity to conduct these checks, Sharma said training of staff will be critical.
“I have already sent about six people to India and they have are participating in environmental auditing so they are aware of what’s going on,” Sharma explained.
The Auditor General said that environmental audits will be in compliance with the fourth “E” of auditing. The other three are the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Additionally, the Audit Office acquired and implemented an audit management software – TeamMate MAS – which will see work done in an electronic environment, thereby reducing the necessity and production of working papers and reports using paper, ultimately assisting in safeguarding the environment.
Sharma explained that the software also ensures that work will be executed in a consistent manner using procedures and practices that are in compliance with international standards.
He said the use of the software also marks the commencement of the Office’s goal of automating the operations of its core functions which is primarily the planning, execution, and reporting on the audits of the public accounts of Guyana.
Meanwhile, Sharma noted that the Office of the Auditor General has transformed drastically under his leadership with staff becoming proficient in the use of modern technology and improved communication mechanisms.
He said the improvements are attributed to the four technical cooperation agreements signed between the Inter-American Development (IDB) and the Government that spanned the period 2003-2017.
Sharma added that the Office was able to modernise its organizational and human resource management function, which included the provision of capacity building initiatives to increase managerial capabilities.
He highlighted too that three new units were created with specific responsibilities for performance auditing, fraud investigations, and quality assurance.