EFFECTIVENESS OF INTERNAL AUDITING IN PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS IN GHANA
The sustainability of government is based on its ability to provide its members needs or services such as health, security, quality education and other developmental projects. Resources are distributed to local governments to ensure that cost of living of its citizens is low. This means the resources should be used efficiently and effectively. Boyne (2003) indicates that performance in the public sector is driven by two factors: resources and management. Management of resources ensures that it is distributed to the various sectors to meet the needs of citizens. Taxpayers expect their demands to be met and taxes collected used efficiently and effectively to develop the country as whole. Resources are managed to ensure that social amenities such as electricity, water, hospitals, schools, police stations and other projects are available in order to make life convenient for citizens. Heads of local government are expected to account for the resources allocated to them and proper management makes accountability easy. All over the world there has been increasing cries for the improvement of the public sector management and this is due to the fact that government is the single largest business organization and the government’s activities affect all other sectors of the economy. The large government activities call for the proper and improved accounting and auditing standards especially in government institutions. Ghana has 134 public service institutions and the budgets and resources of these organizations needs to be managed efficiently and effectively.
The Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663), the financial Administration Regulation 2004, Financial Administration Act 2003 (Act 654) and other Acts and Regulations are available to help officers to execute their duties accordingly, which makes their job easy leading to the achievement of set goals. The public sector is always seen to be lacking as compared to the private sector but the needed resources are distributed to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in order to ensure quality performance to obtain it’s goals.
The Ghana Audit Service (GAS) and the Internal Audit Agency (IIA) were established to ensure that internal controls, financial structures, Acts, rules and regulations, policies and procedures and resources are used, followed in the attainment of objectives, as well as ensuring that funds are used as budgeted effectively and efficiently.
The Audit Service Act 2000 (Act 584) and the Internal Audit Agency Act 2003 (Act 658) were enacted to ensure sustainability of good governance, implementation of government policies, procedure, internal controls and processes, management of risk and the development of the economy by achieving definite objectives. This indicates that there are great expectations from auditors. Effective internal auditing promotes sustainability of the economy, easy accountability and assures taxpayers of great public services. Effective internal auditing seeks improve the public sector to the set target.
Misappropriation of funds, conflict of interest and corruption has been the topic for discussion in Ghana because leaders of various departments and agencies are unable to account for the resources entrusted to their sectors and various corruption scandals. Load shedding of electricity, unemployment, increase in tariffs, unpaid debts, increase in petroleum indicates the economy is in a bad state. An example is, with the African Eurobond debt of $35 billion Ghana owes above 10%, (New statesman, 30th May, 2016) also “Fraud at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) as patients are made to escape paying bills, July 4th, 2016. Due to this, taxpayers are demanding accountability of resources and are questioning the role of internal auditors in the public sector. Questions asked by others are whether there are qualified or skilled internal auditors, whether the needed resources to help them to execute their duties are readily available and also whether the recommendations in their reports are implemented, whether the laws for offenders are working effective, whether internal auditors being employees in the public sector are unbiased or independent when executing their responsibilities and if the punishment for criminals should be increased. This study will explore the factors that constitute effectiveness in internal auditing in public institutions. These factors include availability of resources, internal controls, management board, internal audit functions, assessment of the performance of internal auditors and implementation of audit reports.