The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has failed to conduct 1,520 audits on government bodies due to COVID-19. The Auditor General Paul Muwanga in his report released to Parliament last week, revealed that his office’s mandates (OAG) were highly disrupted by COVID-19 to the extent that most Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and local governments were not audited for the Financial Year that ended 30th June 2020.
In FY 2019/20, the Auditor General planned to conduct 2,724 audits across government bodies, but could only conduct 1,204 audits by February 2021.
“As a result of disruptions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, introduction of SOPs which restricted the audit teams from accessing some government bodies as well as restrictions by MoH in accessing some Local Governments (LGs) and the desire for the office to protect its staff from infection, the office deferred 1,520 audits,” Muwanga said in his report.
The Auditor General had planned to carry out 124 audits on MDAs, but only actualized 82 audits. OAG also failed to conduct a single audit on the planned 175 audits on Districts and Municipal Councils. Muwanga says that the under-performance was largely due to limited funding and effects of COVID-19 on office operations. He added that the institution plans to resume operations on the deferred audits as government relaxes on COVID-19 SOPs. The deferred audits range from financial audits, compliance audits, special audits, value for money to specialised audits, as well as forensic investigations and IT audits.
“Our operating environment presents some challenges that negatively impact what we do. The key challenges we face include; increasing scope without matching resources, evolving accounting systems, and stakeholders’ expectation gap. These challenges present opportunities to innovate on more efficient ways to undertake our mandate and this has been the underlying value to our success,” the AG said.
Sections 13 (1) of the National Audit Act, 2008, gives OAG the mandate to audit and report on the public accounts of Uganda and of all public offices including the courts, the central and local government administrations, universities and public institutions of like nature, and any public corporations or other bodies.