By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Following the acquisition of software to enhance competence of their functions nationwide, the Auditor General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris has tasked internal auditors to ensure they acquire the prerequisite Information Communication Technology skills required as well as become computer literate.
Accountant General of the Federation, gave the charges in his welcome address at a 5 Days Retreat For Internal Auditors on Audit Modernization and Role Of Auditors In An ICT Environment which opened in Kaduna on Monday November 16, 2020.
“Participants will be taken through the functionality of these softwares during this retreat for appreciation of the advantages of acquiring these tools in order to enhance competence and efficiency in carrying out internal auditing functions.
“I should emphasize that at a time like this; Internal Auditors be computer/IT literate and must be vastly knowledgeable in public financial reforms and processes,” he stressed.
He said he was delighted to welcome the audience of Internal Auditors in the public sector and distinguished invited guests, “to this retreat scheduled to hold from Monday, 16th to Friday, 20th November, 2020 in this serene and historicity that is fast transforming into a more beautiful Mega-City under the leadership of the quintessential Malam Nasiru Ahmad el-Rufai.”
He explained that internal audit function is important in the organizational and operational mix of any entity, hence, when the proposal to hold the retreat was contemplated, he gave his support and consent and also, gave the idea the necessary push it deserved to ensure its actualization.
“Over the years, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) has been driving a major transformation project – Modernisation Of Internal Audit, a World Bank intervention programme under the umbrella of the Economic Reforms and Governance Projects (ERGP).
“The Internal Audit Modernization project commenced in 2010 with the appointment of Cowater International of Carade as consultants.
“Since then, a good number of the superintending over the Internal Audit schedules at the Headquarters and Ministries, Departments and Agencies have been trained in different aspects of the Programme in order to increase and enhance the professional capacity/performance of the Internal Auditors in accordance with internationally recognized imperatives of best practices in undertaking the all-important functions of gate keeping and risk-hedging,” he said.
He therefore, thanked the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning for her consistent support to the Treasury.
“Her passion for staff training and development has always been demonstrated by never failing to approve our requests for consent and sufficient funding for ourvarious trainings, seminars, courses, workshops and retreats; this one inclusive,” he added.
The Accountant General of the Federation said the theme, “Internal Audit in ICT Environment” and the various topics, cutting across current issues around Public Financial Management (PFM) Reforms in our country, were carefully selected; taking into account global trends and best practices.
“In a bid to conform with modern trends vis-à-vis the ongoing PFM Reforms, we provided a number of IT tools to enhance the operations of the Audit Monitoring Department of the OAGF An audit data capturing Centre has been established with a view to securing an interface with the IPPIS and GIFMIS platforms through which transactions can be viewed oline/real time,” he pointed out.
Alhaji Idris noted that the programme of the retreat, papers focusing on the functions and operations of the various Treasury departments in the OAGF involved in the Public Financial Reforms Projects will be presented.
“Relevant papers are also going to be presented by some external facilitators.
“Let me emphasize that the roles of the Internal Auditor in the process flows pertaining to the implementation of the PFM reforms and other related matterswill be highlighted during this retreat.
“You should therefore embrace the new knowledge and secure it in your audit tool-box for retrieval and application; noting the fact that you are Internal Auditors because you are Accountants.
“Blessed are those who have the knowledge and competence of the two!” He reiterated.
He urged all to participate fully, interact, ask questions and ensure that your take-aways will aptly answer important value-for-money question.
Speaking further, , he emphasized that as governance expands in responsibilities, funding and expenditure also increase.
“There is also corresponding increase in risks and other challenges, the Internal Auditor must match these imperatives, remain resolute and reliable in controlling risks, and should always strive diligently to deploy new knowledge and tools to safeguard public assets and trust.
“One of these tools is the Internal Audit REPORTS. Reports must be factual, accurate, timely, and of high quality and must pass integrity tests. I understand that a paper on report writing skillsand prompt rendition of statutory and other audit reports in line with an adopted template will be presented during this retreat. Please, consider this as an important aspect of this retreat and seek to fully understand the new requirements and pass the knowledge across and down the line for seamless and consistent compliance,” he emphasized.
He implored participants to create space to consider and discuss the following issues if they are not already provided in the programme. “(i) Audit of Access Control with regard to Users on our computer platforms (ii) Audit of System Back-ups (ii) Internal Audit controls as enablers for Government anti-corruption drive in the management of public resources (iv) Audit of System-based Reconciliation(v) How Internal Audit mechanisms can enhance efficiency in Government MDAS, and(vi) regeneration/retrieval.Ok 88Internal Audit and data integrity and data.”