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US$270,000 World Bank support to improve Audit Service

March 14, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

The World Bank Group has through its agency – the International Development Association (IDA) – acting as administrator of grant funds under the Supreme Audit Institution Capacity Development (SAICD) Multi-Donor Trust Fund, announced that a grant of two hundred and seventy thousand United States Dollars (US$270,000) would be provided to help the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) strengthen its professional capacity to deliver quality public sector audit.

According to a release from the bank, the objective of the Capacity Building Project Grant is to improve the efficiency of public sector audit, thereby strengthening external oversight over the management of public resources in Sierra Leone.

The project also hopes to capacitate staff of ASSL on their financial oversight roles to ensure transparency and accountability on the use of public funds.

“This project will help our office meet three of our eight strategic goals, namely: to raise our profile and increase understanding of the work we do; produce more timely, relevant audit reports of high quality; and increase the impact of the reports we issue,” said Lara Taylor-Pearce, Auditor General of Audit Service Sierra Leone.

She added that the intervention was timely as it is coming in at a time when they have just developed a new strategic plan.

According to the World Bank Country Manager, Parminder Brar, Sierra Leone was fortunate to have one of the best performing audit institutions in Africa and the world at large.

He said it was in recognition of the professionalism of the office, that the Auditor General, Madam Taylor-Pearce, was elected Chair of the Governing Board of Afrosai E – the Association of twenty-two English speaking audit offices in Africa and was the first Auditor General from West Africa to be elected to such a position.

“The World Bank has been supporting the Sierra Leone Audit Service for more than a decade. The reports on the Auditor General’s website are thorough and professional. The World Bank is also supporting the Government in greatly strengthening the public financial management system. We are happy to work with the Government to ensure that the audit recommendations are acted upon expeditiously and accountability is further improved,” he said.

The first component of this grant will assist ASSL to organize ‘hands-on’ training in revenue audit to equip staff with the skills necessary to undertake the specialized audit; and providing logistical support to facilitate training of the staff in the revenue audit.

The second component will help produce simplified versions of audit reports so that they could be more widely shared and understood by the general public, thereby supporting the development of pictorial and audio versions of the audit reports for the benefit of the public to better understand audit findings.

“While efforts have been made in the country to promote budget openness and public financial management, overall Sierra Leone still have significant weaknesses in the area of spending oversight both at the central and local government levels, as well as the state owned enterprises. Building capacity in the country’s oversight institutions so as to improve transparency and accountability is, therefore, deemed essential. Accordingly, strengthening ASSL, which is the country’s Supreme Audit Institution, to provide a strong oversight is key to addressing the Government’s Governance and Public Sector reform agenda as outlined in the Agenda for Prosperity,” the release noted.

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