COVID-19 considerations and the Public Debt Auditor’s experience discussed at the 2nd virtual meeting of INTOSAI Working Group on Public Debt

Auditing public debt in a crisis (COVID-19 considerations and the Public Debt Auditor’s experience) was the focus of discussions at the annual meeting of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Working Group on Public Debt (WGPD). The virtual meetings conducted through Zoom were facilitated by the Philippine Commission on Audit (COA) as Chairman of the INTOSAI WGPD.

Around 38 member countries participated in the meetings that were held in two batches on 19 and 20 May 2021 for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Officials from SAIs Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lithuania, Moldova, Qatar, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Seychelles, Maldives, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Indonesia, Thailand, China, and Fiji were part of the first batch while SAIs Ecuador, Chile, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Gabon, Portugal, Austria, Egypt, Northern Macedonia, Zambia, Finland, Bulgaria, Romania, and Korea were part of the second batch. Representatives from SAI France attended as observers.

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Chairperson Aguinaldo shares Philippine experience in maintaining accountability during the pandemic at IBP’s global discussion on managing COVID Funds
 

Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo shared the Philippines Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) experiences in maintaining accountability and transparency during the time of pandemic at an online global discussion on “Managing COVID Funds: A Global Scorecard of Accountability” hosted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) on 24 May 2021. The discussions centered on various countries’ assessment in maintaining transparency, oversight and public participation in managing COVID Funds and highlighted the need for accountability and global effort to battle COVID-19.

Joining Chairperson Aguinaldo in the panel were Mr. Nazir Kabiri - Deputy Minister for Policy in Afghanistan, Ms. Carolina Renteria – Chief of the Planning and Finance Management Division of the International Monetary Fund’s Fiscal Affairs Department, and Ms. Shumani Luruli – Program Coordinator for Plan Act, a Civil Society Organization (CSO) based in South Africa. Ms. Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, Secretary General of CARE International and a board member of the IBP, was the moderator.

IBP said the scale and complexity of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic have challenged governments' capacity to manage their resources effectively. By the end of 2020, more than $14 trillion had been spent on addressing the pandemic's financial impacts. These included additional spending measures, tax relief programs, and loans and loan guarantees. IBP’s report also stated that two thirds of countries failed to provide enough information on the relief packages that they introduced and almost half bypassed their legislatures.

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