The office of the Auditor General (OAG) has launched a digital platform to enable citizens relay their concerns about the quality of different service deliveries.
Dubbed Citizens Feedback Platform, the service can be downloaded from Google Play Store. The launch and practical demonstration of the product was done on the first day of the Extractive Industry and Energy Stakeholders Symposium that ran from January 18 to 20 at Imperial Royale hotel, Kampala.
Under the theme, ‘The extractive industry and energy development in Uganda: Roadmap to sustainable environmental and economic growth,’ the symposium sought to enable the OAG capture stakeholders’ expectations and proposals, and identify attendant audit risks.
Auditor General John Muwanga said his office is constitutionally mandated to regularly produce reliable and high-quality audit reports, adding that the OAG’s Corporate Plan 2020-2025 spells out stakeholder engagement as a key component in producing credible and good-quality audit reports.
“Engagement with stakeholders enables us obtain deeper insight into the activities and processes in the sectors and subsectors. [This product] will help us undertake our mandate more efficiently and ultimately contribute to improvement of service delivery,” he said. “By effectively auditing and reporting, we promote good governance, transparency and accountability in the management and use of public resources.”
Joseph Hirya, the director of Audit, Central Government 1, added that besides the financial audits that the public is accustomed to, the OAG also does annual forensic, environmental and performance audits.
“All these fit in our main function which is to audit and report on the public accounts of Uganda and accounts of all public offices, bodies and/or organizations established by parliament and public projects,” he added.
Echoing the appreciation of foreign participants, Hirya said OAG learnt a lot of new developments in the extractives and electricity sector, identified new areas of audit in the future, and developed new partnerships as a result of the symposium.
CITIZENS FEEDBACK PLATFORM
Maxwell Ogentho, the director, Technical Services, urged citizens to always utilise the platform either anonymously or using their true identities. The public can communicate information on deficiencies in service delivery, thereby assisting the OAG to identify risks for potential audit and investigations topics.
“The objective of the Citizens Feedback Platform (CFP) is to enable the OAG to collect data on service delivery and analyse it to inform the planning, execution and reporting of the respective audits and enhance access to audit products to enable citizens to follow up on audit issues,” he said.
Ogentho argued that citizenship inputs in modern audit processes are inevitable because it is a demand from an enlightened citizenship. He explained that the audit function consumes a lot of funds, and that there have emerged various types of audits, raising the need for audits to remain relevant to society.
Therefore, to enable many people to participate and do it fast and safely, the OAG has started using technology to boost interaction with citizens, Ogentho said.
“Once communication is received, the system [platform] sends a receipt to the citizen, and our staff can later contact the citizen if need be,” he assured.
“We are expectant that this web-based platform will greatly improve the utilization of our audit reports; namely, the citizens will pick more interest in them and feel ownership of them,” he added.
He highlighted the benefits of the platform as bridging the gap between OAG and the populace and promotion of a harmonious working relationship; production of audits relevant to citizens’ problems and adding value to society; and avoidance of production of non-impactful audits that only serve the statutory obligations, among others.