Parliament yesterday (November 21) approved 59-2 a MVR 57.8 million (US$3.7 million) budget for the Auditor General’s Office for 2013, MVR14 million (US$907,911) higher than its budget for 2012.
Presenting a Finance Committee report (Dhivehi) on the Auditor General’s Office’s budget, Chair MP Ahmed Nazim explained that parliament was mandated by the audit law to approve an annual budget for the office prior to the submission of the state budget by the Finance Ministry.
A request to increase the Audit Office budget was scrutinised by a sub-committee and approved after a thorough assessment, Nazim said.
Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim told the committee that the additional funds would be used to hire 43 new staff. The Audit Office presently has 99 staff, including the Auditor General.
As part of its mandate, Niyaz noted that the Audit Office had to audit financial statements from members of the cabinet in addition carrying out annual audits of government offices and other state institutions.
Due to the geographic dispersion of the Maldives, the Audit Office needed to audit over 1,000 offices across the country, Nazim said.
During the debate on the Finance Committee report, most MPs spoke in favour of increasing the Audit Office’s budget and praised the “sincere” and “competent” work of Auditor General Niyaz.