By Nelson Manneh
The National Assembly Select-Committee on Public Enterprises (PEC) on Monday called on the National Roads Authority (NRA) to submit their Financial and Activities reports on time as ascribed in the time frame in their Act.
Hon: Halifa Sallah the Chairperson of the National Assembly Select-Committee on Public Enterprises Committee (PEC) said the absence of the External Auditors at the National has created a gap. In their work
Sallah said the presence of the External Auditors would have created the possibility of consultation to inform the board the main challenges on the work of the Auditors themselves.
“We are not told that the NRA has problem in submitting its financial statement for auditing, what we are saying here is that the Auditors may not be able to audit their account before the end of this financial year,” he remarked.
The Chairperson said: “Members would want us to convey to NRA the need to look in to this challenge of having statements submitted to auditors who do not have the time to comply with time bound requirement and we would want the board to referred back to the Act establishing the responsibilities of the National Audit office.”
“Section 19 of the Act states very clearly those external auditors are under the jurisdiction of the Auditor Genera. The National Audit Act 2015 section 19 state that the Auditor General may appoint an Auditor who is not a member of the staff of the National Audit Office to assist in auditing the accounts of any public entity,” he said.
The Member for Serrekunda said Section 20 states that the Auditor General shall provide and audit opinion on the financial statements of each entity for which he or she has the responsibility to audit within six months of the end of the immediate preceding financial year.
He said the limit is six months before the end of the financial year, meaning audit opinions must not go beyond the time stipulated in the Act.
Sallah said the NRA Act also states on section 20 sub-section 4 that the authority shall within 3 months before the end of each financial year submit their financial report to the Auditor General for auditing.
He said looking at all the Acts, they still must say that they all speak the same language that they cannot go beyond the time frame established by law in ensuring the submission of audit reports.
He said they would want to really look at the laws providing for the existence of the institutions and ensure that partners realize what the law says before entering in to any contract so that they are bound by those legal considerations to determine whether they have the competence to deliver or not and if they do not have the competence, then they should not sign the contract.
He said both institutions should indicate the time frame for submission of both reports on or before 30th of November 2019.
He said if that assurance could be given, then members will be able to consider it. He said they want commitment to be given by the board since their objective is to put an end to the late submission of reports.
He said they could make a commitment that in entering in to any relationship with external auditors; the law must be taking in to consideration.
Mr. Mod Ceesay the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transport Works and Infrastructures who spoke on behalf of the Ministry apologies on behalf of their Ministry and promised the PEC that they will be sensitive to the language of the law.
He said the blame is not meant for the Auditors alone, but to the Ministry too.
“Looking at our previous reports, we have been submitting our reports on time. We will make sure we work according to the time frame,” he said.