The Office of the Auditor General (OAG), in collaboration with the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD), held a week-long Phase Two stakeholders' briefing session.This session was attended by councillors from local authorities and regional councils in the Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati, and Kunene regions.

The gathering aimed at providing an explanation of the expectations from local authorities and regional councils during an audit.

This is particularly important as these two entities play a pivotal role in delivering essential services to the community.

"Because we believe that we cannot really, after so many years after independence, still be sitting with very bad books in government, we need to really make sure that our citizens are expecting us to really account to them because they are paying taxes on a daily basis, and people are not doing well financially, but they still pay tax to government, and we are there to audit and ensure that they are also informed what exactly happens to the money they are paying to the state."

Over the years, numerous regional councils and local authorities have received unfavorable audit opinions.

Deputy Auditor General Goms Menette says his office recognized the necessity of intervening and providing assistance to help them transition away from these unfavorable assessments.

"Most of them are in areas such as assets where they cannot really keep track of how many assets they really own, but it is not possible for the local authority to not know how many assets you own. We believe that they really need to account for all these things, especially the assets."

He points out that local authorities are also grappling with the task of collecting municipal debts and finding ways to mitigate them, as well as the challenges of compiling their own financial statements.

Menette expressed his perplexity regarding how a local authority could have a financial manager who is incapable of preparing their own financial records, leading them to resort to hiring a consultant.

"You can be appointed as a CEO, financial manager, or assistant financial manager, and then you still go and appoint a consultant to come and do books for you."

The Executive Director of the Urban and Rural Development Ministry, Daniel Nghidinua, also shared his views.

"We have a close working relationship between ourselves as a ministry entrusted with regional and local authority government sectors and the oversight of the office of the auditor general to ensure that the public interest in terms of accountability for resources and the general performance of local and regional councils is really upheld."



Tonateni Haimbodi