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Launch of the Financial Audit Manual and Opening of the Rollout Workshop

February 13, 2017       Novotel Convention Centre, Lami

The Auditor-General for Fiji, Mr. Ajay Nand;
The Counselor and Charge’ de Affaires of the South African High Commission in Suva, Mr. Velelo Gardener Kwepile;
The Auditor-Generals of the Pacific Islands Countries participating via telecast;
Workshop facilitators and participants;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen

Ni sa Bula Vinaka, Namaste, Asalaam Alaykum, Noa’ia‘e mauri, and a very good morning to you all!

I am deeply honoured to join you this morning to launch the Financial Audit Manual and weeklong workshop.

As you are all aware, Fiji is undergoing a major process of modernisation aimed at keeping the tremendous social and economic progress we have achieved as a nation as sustainable as possible.

Two months ago, I attended the launch of Fiji’s Revised Laws at the 18th Attorney-General’s Conference – a milestone achievement for our country. For the first time in 31 years, Fiji has revised, consolidated and published laws, capable of addressing modern challenges and in line with international best practices.

Our revised laws add teeth to the Fijian Government’s fight against corruption and, more broadly, promote greater accountability in public offices.

And I’m very pleased to note that today’s launch of the Financial Audit Manual will help build upon our efforts to modernise Fiji’s agenda and prepare us for what the future holds.

The Office of the Auditor-General plays a critical role in our national life by reporting annually to Parliament on the public accounts of the State and on the control of and all transactions concerning public money and property.  In addition to the Auditor-General’s mandate to audit the consolidated account of the State, The Auditor-General also audits the accounts of Government Ministries and Departments, Statutory Authorities, Government Commercial Companies, Municipal Councils and Provincial Councils, while also providing Special Purpose Audits, Performance Audits, Information-Technology Audits, Special Investigations and other specialised audits.

It is an enormous responsibility and one of vital importance to our national development. Each year, the Auditor-General is mandated to conduct 150 audits, navigating a diverse array of accounting and reporting frameworks employed by various entities.

These frameworks include the full International Financial Reporting Standards, the International Financial Reporting Standards for Small to Medium Enterprises, the Cash Based International Public Sector Accounting Standards, Modified Accruals, Cash Accounting, Compliance Audits, Performance Audits, and IT Audits, to name a few.

These are in addition to the many differing regulations, instructions and Standard Operating Procedures devised by these entities to govern their conduct.  So the complexity of the Auditor-General’s mandate and scope cannot be understated.

And the Office of the Auditor-General needs cutting-edge auditing tools and manuals aligned to international best practices if this vital work is to be carried out effectively. Because it is the Fijian people who ultimately benefit from transparency and accountability at every level of Government.

Your profession is not only highly technical and sophisticated, it is an essential element of any democratic society. Your responsibility to keep public offices accountable and your independence as an institution are foundational to preserving our political system and ensuring that the interests of the Fijian people are always at the forefront of Government’s agenda.

This workshop will see the rollout of the Financial Audit Manual, which I am advised is based on the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions for English speaking countries.

The Manual is also aligned to the International Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions under the International Organisation for Supreme Audit Instructions.

I cannot emphasise enough how important the adoption of standards, processes and methods that are objective and transparent are essential for Supreme Audit Institutions under the universal Principles of Transparency and Accountability.

Supreme Audit Institutions must lead by example. They must govern under standards and methodologies that comply with the fundamental auditing principles of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions.

With the rollout and implementation of this Financial Audit Manual, our auditing practices would also be aligned to the requirements of international best practices, bringing the Office of the Auditor-General to the same level as other developed countries.

It is also envisaged that the Manual would boost internal capacity by reducing inefficiencies, redirecting scarce resources to critical areas and creating new opportunities to expand the responsibilities of your Office.

In the interest of furthering regional cooperation and collaboration, it is great to hear that this workshop is being streamed live to other Supreme Audit Institutions in the Pacific. This will go a long way in strengthening the partnerships we enjoy within the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions.

In closing, I’d like to express our profound gratitude to the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions for sharing your knowledge and experiences with the Pacific region.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you all the very best in your deliberations throughout the week and I trust that you will make full use of the opportunity to acquire new knowledge that will have a lasting impact on your work.

I now have the great pleasure to launch the Financial Audit Manual and officially open your week long workshop.

Vinaka vakalevu, Dhanyavaad, Sukria, Fai’eksia, Thank you and God bless!