Audit Office ready to scrutinise gov’t spending of oil funds as $1.05B approved
The National Assembly on Monday approved $1.05 billion in the budgetary allocations for the Audit Office with the APNU+AFC opposition raising questions on the agency’s ability to scrutinise the government’s spending of oil revenue this year.
The question on the Audit Office’s ability to audit withdrawals from the Natural Resource Fund, where the oil revenues are kept, was posed by Shadow Natural Resources Minister David Patterson.
But responding in the Committee of Supply before the approval of the funding, was Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira, who assured that the Audit Office has done much preparation to track oil revenues that the government will withdraw to fund national development projects. The Audit Office will also have to pay attention to the deposits.
Under the Natural Resource Fund Act, the Audit Office has a major role to play in auditing the accounts, records and other documents dealing with the NRF annually.
Teixeira said when the time comes for these audits, the Auditor General will have to make a determination on the need for external and internal auditing firms to assist.
“Any technical expertise will be determined during planning and extraction of the audit,” the minister told the Committee of Supply.
Notwithstanding, the Audit Office has been building capacity to audit the oil sector altogether.
“Two middle management officers now have their Master Degrees in studies relating to oil and… engineers, the audit office has three, one with a Masters… more engineers will be catered for in the 2023 budget.
Meanwhile, in the overall $1.05B allocation, the Audit Office will be spending some $8.8 million on overseas trips.
The Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs said this includes travels to Missions in Washington, New York, Toronto and Ottawa to conduct audits.
The Audit Office examines the records of the larger missions annually and smaller missions every two years.
There are also monies for the Auditor General Deodat Sharma and other officers to attend the CAROSAI congress, which will take place in Aruba from May 15th – 19th, 2022. Sharma is the current Chairman with Guyanese managing the secretariat.
Some $25 million will go towards capital projects and will see the procuring and installation of a water filtration system, the construction of a storage bond in the compound of the High Street, Georgetown Headquarters and the purchasing of furniture and other equipment.