Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Thursday, appreciated overall performance of the Auditor-General’s Department and its agenda on systemic reforms, restoration of soft image of the Department. The 100% increase in recoveries effected by audit, from Rs.40 billion in 2014-15 to Rs81 billion in 2015-16 were specifically appreciated.
Output of the department included 596 audit reports including 101 financial attests, 151 special audits, 133 foreign aided audits and 211 regularity audit reports. During 2015-16, 11,000 formations were audited involving an audited amount of Rs.9, 477 billion.
Chairing a meeting to discuss various reforms being undertaken to enhance the quality of audit and capacity of the Audit Department, he directed that the pensioners drawing pension through the conventional mode should be converted to Direct Credit System in a prompt manner.
He added that pensioner welfare officers should be provided training by AGPR offices and that the banks may further improve pensioner’s facilitation by making proper seating arrangements as well as dedicated timeframe for attending the pensioners.
Finance Minister stated that Audit is an important function for good governance as it plays a major role in enhancing transparency and ensuring accountability. He said that effective audit strengthens government efforts to eradicate financial irregularities and financial misappropriation.
Auditor-General of Pakistan, Rana Assad Amin, apprised the Finance Minister of the performance of the department and the various initiatives that have been taken in recent years to enhance the output as well as effectiveness of the audit function.
He highlighted that the reforms, based on the Department’s first ever Strategic Plan included improving financial and organizational independence, capacity building, development of communication and cooperation with stakeholders, use of modern audit techniques and technologies and improving internal governance.
Operational reforms also include a paradigm shift involving re-introduction of risk-based auditing, focused on systemic issues. Finance Minister was also briefed on the salient points of the legislation for Auditor-General’s Act, leading to greater financial and operational independence of the department.
The Auditor-General also apprised the Finance Minister about pension reforms, which were initiated on his directions in October 2015. He updated that out of a total of 26, 00,000 pensioners, more than 7, 00,000 cases have been converted to Direct Credit System (DCS) to facilitate smooth payments to pensioners.
Pensioner’s form is now simplified from the conventional format of 9 pages to 3 pages. Finance Minister appreciated the progress of computerized mode of payment and processing of all new cases through DCS.