The National Audit Office (NAO) on Wednesday and Thursday held a workshop to increase the audit impact through the implementation of recommendations. In addition to the NAO leaders, the workshop was attended by members of the Assembly of Kosovo and members of the Commission for Oversight of Public Finances (COPF). As part of this workshop, a virtual meeting was held with representatives of the Swedish Supreme Audit Institution and members of the Swedish Parliament.
On the first day of this workshop, discussions were held on two key issues for the National Audit Office, such as the implementation of audit recommendations and the amendment of the Law on the Auditor General. The workshop continued on Thursday, where the annual performance report and the three-year strategy of the NAO were discussed.
Initially, the Auditor General, Vlora Spanca, extended her thanks to the members of the Commission for the cooperation and continuous support given to the NAO in fulfilling its constitutional and statutory mandate, saying that the mutual work aims to improve the management of public funds.
Spanca stressed that despite this commitment, the implementation of audit recommendations is still at an unsatisfactory level. On an annual basis, the NAO publishes more than 130 audit reports and provides about 1,000 recommendations for regularity and performance audits. To increase the impact on improving public financial management, audit recommendations need to be implemented by budget organizations, but unfortunately, despite our work and the commitment of the COPF, the level of implementation of recommendations is not at the appropriate level. “The level of implementation of the recommendations for 2019 was 40%, whilst in 2020 was 45%. Although there is a slight increase in the level of implementation of the recommendations given for 2020, it still remains low,” said Spanca.
To increase the impact of the work, namely the implementation of audit recommendations, Mrs Spanca said that the commitment of the heads of public institutions is required to take actions and to hold their subordinates to account. While, she stressed that the absence of ministers in the meetings of the COPF when reviewing audit reports is worrying, because it shows the insufficient commitment of those who are charged with accountability in the implementation of recommendations. If the audit reports are not reviewed, the auditors’ work and engagement is not materialized. Mrs. Spanca welcomed the initiative of the COPF to increase the impact of the work of the NAO through onsite visits to budget organizations.
The Auditor General has further indicated that in order to comply with the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions and EU practices, as well as to conduct more compliance audits with applicable laws and regulations, audits of performance to assess the efficiency, effectiveness and economy of government activities, the amendment of the Law on AG is more than necessary.
Regarding the need to amend the Law on the Auditor General and the NAO, the Auditor General has announced that a concept document has been prepared and that she informed the COPF that SIGMA has expressed its readiness to assist the NAO in this process.
On the other hand, the Head of the Commission for Oversight of Public Finances (COPF), Hykmete Bajrami, spoke about the work of the Commission and the importance of implementing the audit recommendations. Mrs. Bajrami welcomed the holding of this workshop as a good opportunity to discuss the implementation of the recommendations and thanked the National Audit Office for the ongoing cooperation with the COPF. The President of the COPF welcomed the initiation of the amendment of the Law on the Auditor General and the NAO. Further Mrs. Bajrami praised the work of the NAO and expressed the commitment of the Commission to increase the impact of their work.
Swedish MP Mia Sydow Mölleby and Dag Levin Sparr, Senior Advisor to the Swedish National Audit Office (SNAO) presented the Swedish Parliament and KNAO’s practices in reviewing audit reports and cooperation between the two institutions to ensure good management of public funds and hold the heads of budget organizations to account.
Members of the Assembly of Kosovo and those of the Swedish Parliament have shared their experiences and practices in order to increase the impact of their work in improving public financial management.
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