ASOSAI proactively supports SAIs in respondinng to the COVID-19 pandemic

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(BKTO) – in the 55th Governing Board Meeting of the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institution (ASOSAI), the member SAIs discussed and shared initiatives, methods and approaches to contribute to enhancing responsibility and performance of SAIs in emergent situations or in response to the newly emerging issues.
Delegation of the State Audit Office of Viet Nam participates in the 55th virtual meeting of ASOSAI Governing Board. Photo by Nguyen Loc

 Timely responding to the pandemic 
The 55th ASOSAI Governing Board Meeting was held in virtual form, governed by the State Audit Office of Viet Nam with participation of 12 Governing Board members. In the meeting, in capacity as the ASOSAI Chair for 2018-2021, the SAV proposed initiatives to enhance roles of ASOSAI in helping its members amid COVID-19 pandemic. According to Auditor General of Viet Nam, Dr Ho Duc Phoc, like other public units in the political system of respective countries, SAIs have been facing a series of challenges in respect to proximity, travelling, instability, work-from-home policy and work place closing, etc which caused by the COVID- 19. More than ever before, SAIs’ role in supporting authorities, businesses and citizens in response to the COVID-19 is becoming increasingly important. 
The recent report posted in 23rd INCOSAI website stated that SAIs around the world have been conducting audits of public spendings for solutions against novel Coronavirus, food and necessary goods procurement packages in support for society, and assessing the financial stimulus policies. Though qualitative assessments of the effectiveness and effectiveness of public policies takes time, many SAIs have initially achieved positive results.
 SAIs actively proposed and successfully exploited appropriate solutions to promptly respond to the COVID-19 such as SAI Colombia, SAI Panama, SAI United States of America,…
 SAI Colombia, when analyzing the distribution of credit to support agriculture and food production, found that 90% of credit funds were allocated to large food businesses while small one were the driving force to create significant amount of new jobs during pandemic.
SAI Panama has implemented a support program for the Ministry of Agricultural Development to ensure transparency in the procurement and distribution of products through social assistance programs.
SAI United States conducts the "School Meals during the Covid-19 pandemic" to provide food during the summer vacation for elementary and high school students under the age of 18 who come from low-income families. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, it was essential to calculate the exact number of students receiving meals within the program. SAI USA has made 04 recommendations in the newly published audit report. 
These examples are considered a precious lesson and typical case study for SAIs to study. 
 The SAV had made prompt decisions to ensure the regular operation of the organization for the achievement of annual program, including adjustment to annual audit plan, increase of working-from-home and in office while decrease of the field works, application of science technologies into administration and audit.
 Especially, the SAV has actively directed the development of annual audit plan in line with the actual situation and the State’s orientation so it could support for ministries, sectors, localities and businesses to overcome the crisis period. In particular, the SAV will focus on assessing the state budget governance in 2020 affected by Covid-19 (decreasing revenues, supporting tools, tax and fee decrease etc. for audited entities); supporting tools for citizens, businesses in difficulty such as promoting the public capital disbursement, extending the due date to pay land tax and land rent; exempting and reducing small business income tax; selecting audit topics in the areas such as the management of electricity, petrol and food prices, etc. which directly and strongly affect the operation of enterprises and people's lives and of particularly interest. 
Along with that, the SAV will conduct more audits of social security support packages for people and businesses affected by Covid-19, the procurement of medical equipment to prevent and control Covid-19.
ASOSAI coordinate the supporting efforts of member SAIs 
Recently, the Centers for Diseases Control have cooperated with INTOSAI to conduct need assessment survey to SAIs to develop suitable supporting projects and programs in the time to come, the training and capacity development programs were shifted to virtual form or blended between virtual and face-to-face form for the long-term programs. 
 Especially, ASOSAI has been working closely with INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) and INTOSAI Committee on Knowledge Sharing to implement an all-out cooperative audit for 2020-2023 with approach to 3D sustainable development of “Sustainable and strongly resistant national health care system” in which they invited and covered expenses for participants from 26 Asian-Pacific Ocean Countries. These are tangible proof for ASOSAI’s endeavor and contributions.
In the time to come, CDC intended to develop an ASOSAI professional online platform to support for organizing the virtual trainings and technical meetings, workshops, etc to carry out most of annual activities of ASOSAI as the current free pieces of software may not provide full of necessary utilities. The organization of symposium to share treasured experience, the best practices and effective solutions to successfully respond to COVID-19 pandemic applied by SAIs in the world seems the good way to recognize the SAIs’ role in this course in general and in settling other national and regional emergencies 

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