Local authorities exempted from paying audit fees again

05 Aug 2014 09:20am
WINDHOEK, 05 AUG (NAMPA) – The Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) has once again obtained approval from Treasury to exempt local authorities from paying audit fees amounting to over N.dollars 1 million.
The approval means the local authorities will not be required to pay these fees for the period 2014/15 to 2018/19, Auditor-General Junias Kandjeke indicated during the opening of a two-day stakeholders’ briefing session for local authorities in the capital on Monday.
The OAG first obtained approval for local authorities to be exempted from paying audit fees in 2008 for the period 2008 to 2013.
Kandjeke said the purpose of the exemption is for local authorities to use the allocated funds for capacity- building, especially in the field of compiling their own financial statements.
Earlier this year, the OAG conducted a survey to find out how many local authorities could honour this request.
Quite a number of responses were received, and most local authorities indicated that they could not train their staff members to prepare financial statements, and are still relying on consultants.
The OAG will pay such fees on behalf of the local authorities.
Only the Swakopmund local authority has indicated that it will cover its own fees.
“The good performance of our economy requires good governance, proper planning, effective control measures and hard work, and this includes local authorities as well,” Kandjeke stated.
The purpose of this session is to understand and discuss issues related to challenges faced by auditors, the restructuring of the audit report, the financial reporting framework, challenges regarding annual financial statements and to agree on recommendations and resolutions for the way forward.
The latest reports of local authorities show a number of unqualified and disclaimed opinions.
The reports were unqualified because of bad and doubtful debts; Value-Added Tax (VAT) and employees’ tax returns which were not properly computed; housing receivables; rates and taxes not complete due to a lack of supporting documents; arrears of external loans; and long-term liabilities; while the disclaimed reports were provided with no internal control and accounting records; fixed assets registers being incomplete; provision for inventories not made in the financial statements; bank reconciliations not carried out; Build Together debtors not tallied; and no consumer deposit balances reflected in the annual financial statements.
The chief executive officers and accountants from Berseba, Bethanie, Gibeon, Kamanjab, Koes, Leonardville, Maltahohe and the Tses Village Councils are attending the session.
It ends on Tuesday.