Monday, 10 November 2008 8:54 AM

Regional Audit Institutions to Set Up Secretariat

The standard of public auditing within the Pacific region is expected to be improved with the establishment of a Secretariat of the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) in Suva, Fiji next year.

The 12th Forum Economic Ministers' Meeting (FEMM) held in Port Vila, Vanuatu 27 - 29 October noted the establishment of a PASAI Secretariat as part of the implementation of the Pacific Regional Audit Initiative (PRAI).

The PRAI is a Pacific Plan initiative endorsed by Forum Leaders in 2005, and followed-up by the 2006 FEMM which directed the Forum Secretariat to undertake further work on a number of Pacific Plan initiatives related to regional economic integration, in particular, agreed to consider the development of regional support to audit services to improve integrity and financial scrutiny.

"This Pacific Plan initiative has made significant progress in the last two and half years since FEMM mandated this matter. Extensive diagnostic and design work has been undertaken with stakeholder consultation, and development partner support mobilized to allow for implementation of regional and sub-regional programmes from early 2009," says Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Mr Slade adds: "The programmes are aimed to uniformly raise public auditing standards and effectiveness in the region through a package of initiatives including capacity supplementation and augmentation approaches to help overcome the underlying structural and capacity constraints particularly amongst the Smaller Island States."

The design of PRAI has been developed through an extensive consultation process under the guidance of the 25-member PASAI with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions Development Initiative (IDI) and AusAID. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat provided oversight of the process. In April this year, the PASAI Congress which met in the Cook Islands endorsed the PRAI design.

Besides setting up the PASAI Secretariat, the emphasis of PRAI for 2008 - 2012 will be:
. the setting up a sub-regional audit support programme for Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu;
. designing a long-term structured capacity-development programme; and
. initiating cooperative performance audit.

During the FEMM in Port Vila, Ministers welcomed the progress made to-date, noted the positive implications for the management of State Owned Enterprises, and lent support to associated implementation of PRAI, with the ongoing support of the ADB, AusAID, IDI, and other development partners.