Fifth Meeting of SCO SAIs’ Heads
On March 31, 2022, the Fifth Meeting of the Heads of the Supreme Audit Institutions of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO): China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan was held via videoconference chaired by the SAI of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The key topic of the event was the exchange of knowledge and experience on expenditure of COVID-19 audit.
In his opening remarks, the Auditor General of Pakistan, Mr. Muhammad Ajmal Gondal, noted the SAI's progress in aligning itself with emergencies. He emphasized the need to develop the methodology of remote audit operations:
“<…> I propose the publication of an Audit Compendium as a result of collaboration between SCO member states and as a source of information for anybody interested in the impact of COVID-19 and member state SAIs pertinent work”.
The Chairman of the Chamber of Accounts of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Almazbek Akmatov, highlighted the joint activities of the SAIs of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan, executed within the framework of the Action Plan for 2018–2019:
- a set of seminars (Bishkek, Nur-Sultan, Beijing) devoted to the audit of effectiveness of the government social policy was hold;
- a parallel audit of social facilities was conducted:
“One of the common challenges faced by the participants of the parallel audit was insufficiency of special knowledge for assessment of efficiency of the field of social protection. Undoubtedly, the audit conducted in the field of social protection served as an excellent practice of mutual exchange of experience and audit methods. <…> Four of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – reducing inequality, good health and well-being, quality education, sustainable cities and human settlements – were covered by the audits”
The first working session was dedicated to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Mr. Dmitry Zaitsev, Member of the Governing Board of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, made a report on “SDG implementation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic”. The heads of SCO SAIs were presented with the results of the audit of the Russian public administration system’s preparedness for the implementation of the Agenda for Sustainable Development for the period up to 2030. At the end of his report, Mr. Zaitsev invited all the SAIs interested to join the INTOSAI Working Group on SDGs and Key Sustainable Development Indicators (WGSDG KSDI).
Further into the discussion, the participants noted the relevance of information and communication technologies usage for the audit purposes. The Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Republic of Tajikistan, Mr. Chillazoda Karakhon, outlined the positive impact of the pandemic on the digital transformation of the public sector:
“The long overdue digitalization of processes, which were less effective in the analog form, has accelerated, as many decision makers saw its beneficial side.”
In the second working session devoted to the remote auditing, the Auditor General of the People's Republic of China, Mr. Hou Kai, outlined the importance of the quality data extraction from various sources and having a sufficiently developed technological infrastructure for remote auditing. He noted the experience of the CNAO in developing and using digital platforms for data collection and analysis, as well as for capacity building:
“Five application systems have been completed, and are being rolled out in audit institutions nationwide. CNAO is exploring emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop automated and intelligent data analysis models. <…> exploring measures to ensure the authenticity, integrity and security of data.”
In her report, the Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Ms. Parveen Mehta, presented the elements of the inter-agency digital ecosystem used by SAI’s employees:
“India Stack, a collection of open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and digital public goods aiming to unlock identity, data, and payments at population scale through initiatives like “Aadhaar” (India’s unique identification number), UPI (Unified Payment Interface), and the GSTN (Goods and Services Tax Network) Portal are prime examples of such a platform-oriented approach”
The First Deputy Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr. Bakhodir Turabov, delivered his speech on the conducted effectiveness audit of the public funds usage during the pandemic. After the launch of a national digital platform "Unified system for monitoring performance discipline", designed to collect all President’s instructions to state bodies, SAI Uzbekistan acquired a new tool for remote data collection and analysis on state performance.
As a result of the meeting, the Action Plan of the SAIs of the SCO member – states for 2022–2023 was approved.