The Royal Audit Bill 2017 is the only new legislative Bill the National Council (NC) will deliberate this session. It will be deliberated at the National Assembly in the next session.
Presenting a brief background on the bill the NC’s legislative committee chairman, Tashi Phuntsho, said the Audit Bill was first submitted to the Council on 31st August 2016.
As directed by the NC, the legislative committee reviewed the bill and submitted before the house that it was imperative to review and revise the Act to address certain limitations hampering the effective functioning of the Royal Audit Authority (RAA).
Tashi Phuntsho said that the existing Audit Act 2006 was enacted before the adoption of the Constitution and there were some provisions, which were not enough to cater to the mandated functioning of RAA. For example the mandates and jurisdiction in the existing Act do not include certain entities using natural resources such as mining and quarrying operations by the private entities; there were limitations on unhindered access to records and information of certain entities; the independent functioning of the Authority was impeded by lack of adequate organizational, human resources and financial independence; it lacked a governing board for collective decision-making; there was no mechanism to recognize and promote excellence in public services through institution of award schemes.
The principle objective of the Bill is to promote accountability, transparency, integrity and value for money in public operations and confer on the Authority adequate powers necessary to carry out audits without fear, favor or prejudice.
Deputy Chairperson of the committee Karma Tshering submitted that for a comprehensive review, the Legislative Committee first sought a presentation from the RAA on the Bill, after which the Legislative committee held 14 consultative meetings with relevant stakeholders.
The existing Act has 103 sections and the proposed new bill has 172 sections.