ASOSAI Governing Board meeting looks into COVID-19 response hinh anh 1General Auditor of the State Audit Office of Vietnam Ho Duc Phoc (centre) chairs the online 55th meeting of the ASOSAI Governing Board on July 27 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Measures to support members of the Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) in COVID-19 response were discussed aside from specialised issues at the online 55th meeting of the ASOSAI Governing Board on July 27.

In its report, the State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV), Chair of ASOSAI for 2018-2021, said the world has been undergoing an unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The role of supreme audit institutions in assisting authorities, businesses and people to cope with the COVID-19 crisis is now more important than ever, the SAV noted, adding that depending on the situation in each country, supreme audit institutions will proactively devise suitable solutions to ensure timely response to the pandemic that remains complex at present and is forecast to linger on.

The SAV cited a recent report on the website of the 23th International Congress of Supreme Audit Institutions (INCOSAI) as saying that supreme audit agencies worldwide have been auditing public spending on the implementation of anti-coronavirus measures and the procurement of food and essential goods for social activities. They have also been assessing fiscal stimulus mechanisms and policies.

Though it takes some time to make qualitative assessment on the effectiveness and efficiency of governments’ public policies, many supreme audit agencies have obtained initial encouraging results, the SAV noted.

The office said facing complex developments of COVID-19, the SAV has made timely decisions to ensure its normal operations so as to fulfil this year’s plan, including reducing face-to-face audits and further applying technology to auditing activities.

In particular, it noted, it has proposed the National Assembly and the Government build an audit plan for this year that matches the current context and supports ministries, sectors, localities and businesses to overcome the crisis.

The SAV has focused on assessing the governance of the State budget for 2020 and the measures to support affected people and businesses like promoting public investment disbursement, extending land tax and land use fee payment deadlines, and reducing corporate income tax for small firms. It has also stepped up auditing the aid packages targeting affected groups, along with the procurement of medical supplies for COVID-19 prevention and control.

At the event, the SAV suggested ASOSAI organise a workshop to share experiences, good practices and effective solutions that global supreme audit institutions have been implementing so as to further clarify their role in responding to COVID-19, as well as urgent issues of countries and regions.

The 55th ASOSAI Governing Board meeting was an occasion for member supreme audit agencies to discuss and share new initiatives, methods and measures to enhance their sense of responsibility and operational efficiency in the face of emergencies or in response to emerging issues.

The teleconference involved 12 members of the ASOSAI Governing Board – Vietnam, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia, and Thailand, along with Kazakhstan and Turkey – two members of the Audit Committee, and the Development Initiative of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI).

The State Audit Office of Vietnam assumed the ASOSAI chairmanship for 2018 – 2021 at the 14th ASOSAI Assembly, held in Hanoi from September 19 to 22 under the theme “Environmental Audit for Sustainable Development”.

ASOSAI is one of the regional groups of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI). Established in 1979 with 11 members, it now has a membership of 46, including charter members, members and associate members.

The ASOSAI Assembly, which is held every three years, is the venue for all heads of ASOSAI member supreme audit agencies to discuss and decide on major issues, necessary documents, regimes and policies to achieve the association’s objectives and further its development. It also serves as a forum for sharing experience in the field of state audits./.