There is need to boost transparency and accountability in the extractive industry because companies in this sector take a lot for themselves, but not for the host nation, says Head of International Division Office of the Auditor General in Norway Olivind Larsen.
And acting Auditor General Davidson Mendamenda says Norway’s initiative has come at the right time with the growth of technological advancements in the environment.
Speaking during a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing in Lusaka, Friday, Larsen noted that there was still a lack of transparency in the extractive industry in Zambia, hence the need to implement enhanced auditing systems to help the country improve its ability to monitor the sector.
“The are two things that I want to highlight that are most important when it comes to the work you will be doing. One of them is the work on the performance of extraction industries. Extraction industries is a great source of income capital, but also a very complicated field because these are international companies, there are transfer pricing issues; we know these companies have to taken as much for themselves and not for the people and not for the country they are working in,” Larsen said.
He added that the Office of the Auditor General should equally be equipped with new ICT infrastructure.
“We encourage any work that can be done by the Auditor General in providing transparency and the public work in total. The digitalisation of government that is going on all around the world and the complications that the whole Internet and ICT, new infrastructure is facing. It is so important that we have experts in the ICT field, and I know that you have been working in the ICT fields,” he observed.
And Mendamenda said Norway’s initiative had come at the right time with the growth of technological advancements in the environment.
“This signing ceremony on the continuation of the Memorandum of Understanding and the cooperation document between the office of the Auditors General of Norway and Zambia gives me great pleasure in that there will be more synergies created and knowledge shared between the two offices and other SAIS that office of the Auditor General of Norway is cooperating with. This initiative has come at the right time, especially that there is a lot of technological advancements in the environment. Further, with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by government, I am positive the performance audits will add a lot of value in monitoring the development outcomes from implementation of the SDGs by various Ministries, Provinces and other spending agencies,” Mendamenda said.
He added that the Office of the Auditor General in Zambia had benefited from continued support from their Norwegian counterparts.
“My office has benefited through the long-term advisor in performance audits. The performance audit unit’s capacity was, therefore, enhanced and more staff from other directorates were trained and incorporated into the unit. Further, we have been most grateful for the continued technical support through the short-term missions to enhance capacity in management information systems, IT audits, quality assurance performance audits and now in extractive industries. My office will work to ensure that positive results are seen, which, ultimately, will have a positive impact in the country in terms of improved transparency, accountability in management of public resources for the benefit of society,” said Mendamenda.