PESHAWAR, Pakistan: For the first time in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s history, the provincial government has evolved a comprehensive policy for a centralized internal audit for all the provincial departments, offices and autonomous bodies.
The internal audit policy is intended to build confidence of the citizens by providing unbiased assessments of whether public officials are managing public resources responsibly, effectively, and honestly.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will emerge the second province after Sindh to have dedicated internal audit functions.
The policy was approved in the last Cabinet meeting to pave ways for devising a rollout plan for the implementation of the policy.
As per proposed plan, the implementation on the policy will be initiated soon after the issuance of notification of internal audit policy by finance department which is expected in the next couple of weeks.
A centralized wing, titled Provincial Internal Audit Cell (PIAC) will be established at the finance department. A separate and independent Internal Audit Cell (IAC) will be established in each government’s department and directorates.
All employees within the IAC will maintain independence from the operational management and shall have no direct authority over any of the operational activities of the department.
As per statistics, there are 34 departments and 81 directorates in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the first phase, IACs will be established in the 13 priority departments.
The PIAC will provide support, assistance, technical backstopping and coordination for the functioning of IACs across the provincial government.
The PIAC will be headed by the provincial coordinator internal audit in BPS 19, who will report to the secretary finance.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government considers internal audit a very important management tool, which has been formulated with a technical support from UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) funded Sub-National Governance Programme (SNG).
According to the approved policy, internal audit policy supports the governance responsibilities of oversight, insight, and foresight.
Moreover, the oversight intends to address whether public sector entities are doing what they are supposed to do; funds are being spent on intended purposes and laws are being complied with.
The purpose of the policy is to provide a legal basis for the functioning of internal audit in all the departments of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. It defines the broad principles related to the purpose, authority and responsibility of the IACs and the role of the PIAC with regard to coordination, support and functioning of IACs and PIAC.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s finance department through the internal audit policy intends to establish and put in place effective internal controls in every department and offices for the purpose of efficiency, transparency, judicious use of resources, avoid wastage and misappropriation and to detect errors and irregularities in the financial proceedings and other processes of the government.
The jurisdiction of the internal audit will include all payments made out of the provincial consolidated fund, contract award and management- its processes and record, recruitments, risk and asset management.
This policy shall be applicable to all departments, directorates, attached departments, attached offices and autonomous/semi-autonomous bodies, authorities and boards working under the administrative departments.
Under the law, IACs will prepare and implement an annual audit plan, assess the quality of the department’s risk management, governance, assessing compliance of the management’s activities, assisting the department’s management in the investigation of significant suspected fraudulent activities.