National audit act restricted by red tape

National audit act restricted by red tape

Written by Staff Writer

06 Jan, 2019 | 10:29 pm

Colombo (News1st): The Audit act was passed in parliament despite the many obstacles it faced back on the 5th of July, 2018. It’s come to News1st’s attention that although it has been 6 months since the passage of the audit act, the act has not yet been implemented in the country.

The Audit bill, a major 2015 campaign promise of the government of good governance, was slated to be passed within their first 100 days in power. The Audit Commission was among the independent commissions that were established under the 19th amendment to the constitution that was passed in parliament on the 15th of May 2015.

The Members of the commission were also appointed. The presentation of the National audit bill was delayed and it was also amended on multiple occasions. It was finally passed in parliament on the 5th of July, 2018.

When will the state audit service be empowered to use the powers vested in them through the audit act? Speaking to News1st regarding the issue Auditor General Gamini Wijeysinghe admitted that the national audit commission is not functioning because the state audit service has not been formed as of yet. He noted that this is because of the influences that the state sector has from various others sectors.

He explained that in the recent past a separate committee was appointed at the presidential secretariat under the secretary to the President. The AG noted that another committee was appointed to draft the constitution of the service.

AG Wijeysinghe noted said the salaries commission is attempting to corner the state audit services in the same old place that it was by allocating the salaries of ordinary clerical staff. He noted that members of the service have refused to work at such low wages and that this is also another hindering factor.

Auditor Gamini Wijeyasinghe said as a result of the influences of the salaries commission the presenting of the 2018 audit report has also been delayed. He noted that the president has already granted approval for a new salary payment scheme and in reality, the salary commission is not ready nor do they like to simply follow this approval.

The AG added that they propose what they want, but it is not possible to work according to them as the act has vested many responsibilities to the audit department. He said they had already prepared all reports until 2017, by the start of 2018 but they still cannot start preparing the report for 2018. He believes that because of this situation the future accounts will also be delayed.

Commenting regarding the situation JVP former provincial councillor Namal Karunarathne said the government is trying to render this dysfunctional because of all of their thefts and intimidations. He noted that the people who were in power, as well as those who are currently in power, are stalling this and are not allowing these institutions to function independently.

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