Government has directed all Chief Executive Officers in the Public Sector to set up functional internal audit units by March 2011 despite budgetary constraints.

In addition, the sector is to ensure all outstanding internal and external audit recommendations are cleared by that period and savings from effective internal audit units would pay for the costs involved in establishing the unit and its operations.

Auditing is a disciplined profession which requires practitioners to strictly abide by standards, code of ethics and relevant guideline issues by professional bodies.

President John Evans Atta-Mills in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Seth Terkper, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning at the opening session of the Fifth Internal Audit Forum, reminded public servants to be accountable, customer focused and responsible to the citizenry and improve quality of service delivery.

The two-day forum is under the theme: “Quality Assurance and Improvement in the Public Sector: The Role of Internal Auditing.”

“Public servants must be reminded that quality assurance activity demonstrates an unrelenting commitment to growth, development and improvement through a systematic and continuous mentoring, training and education of public sector staff,” President Mills said.

He said quality assurance had become a major concern of developing countries all over the world and Ghana was no exception, adding that quality services was specifically needed in the public sector to reduce waste, abuse and corruption.

President Mills stressed the need for public sector organisations to conduct quality assurance reviews before the end of the year, saying “it is a requirement.”

He explained that quality assurance review would help public sector institutions to assess the effectiveness of their services and functions and plans to improve performance as well as value function or services they rendered.

Professor Kofi Awoonor, Chairman of Council of State, urged people at the helm of affairs in the country to continually assure and improve quality in all spheres of human activities.

He expressed concern about the lack of coordination among government agencies which culminated in unnecessary project expenditure.

Citing examples, Professor Awoonor said: “water and sewerage damages roads to lay pipes after repair work is done, the telecommunications starts to lay down underground cable wires, again immediately after this, the Urban Roads Department begins to construct drains along the road,” he asked “Where is the coordination among the agencies?”.

He expressed worry about stories that tended to lower the esteem which the public attach to the auditing profession, saying, “We sometimes hear an auditor has colluded with other staff to dupe an institution he/she works for and there are times auditors refuse to report scandals that come to their notice to the appropriate authorities for action.”

Prof Awoonor therefore urged all public servants to do their work with all the commitment it deserved, advising that: “If all public servants are motivated by the national interest we would have less developmental problems.”

Source: GNA