The State Audit Bureau issued two reports; the first is the Citizen’s Report, which includes the Bureau’s work standards and values and a summary of its achievements. The second is the general supervisory report, which monitors the performance and violations of ministries, government departments, annexed entities, public companies and independent entities. The content of both reports has been published on a large scale. Therefore, our comment will be limited to their assessment and a summary of the most important issues addressed in both reports.
In an environment where it is rare to find a government entity performing its work honestly and boldly, it becomes clear from the content of these two reports that the State Audit Bureau is one of these rare bodies that publish its supervision results without waiting for a reward or fear from punishment. However, the strong position is costly.In the Citizen Report content, the State Audit Bureau limits the savings in public funds achieved due to its supervision for the fiscal years 2016/2017-2018/2019 by KD 611.2 million, while the public finance bore its budget expenditures for the three years mentioned in the amount of KD 171.6 million. This indicates that an indirect profit resulted from its work for the three years scored about KD 439.6 million and thus became among rare public institutions that also perform well and achieve surplus. Its tool was filing lawsuits against public bodies that have negligence or embezzlement to the Disciplinary Courts staff. These cases for the fiscal year 2018/2019 were 156 and 407 persons were referred to them and resulted in 138 decisions including 56 acquittals decisions, 49 indictments and dismissals, 29 decisions on non-acceptance, 3 decisions non-specialization and one decision of halting the case.
The report dealt with issues of concern to citizens such as the flying gravel, the drowned tunnels and houses due to rain. It explicitly named the responsible entities for those violations and listed its recommendations concerning their solutions.In its general report, it confirmed the depletion of the general reserve by about KD 22.88 billion on 30/06/2019, in an update to the figures we mentioned in a previous report. It mentioned that the liquid portion within that reserve became for the first time below KD 10 billion. It criticized the structural financial disorder by the continued dominance of oil revenues in shaping 89.6% of the general budget revenues according to the latest final account figures. It also criticized the continued deviation of budget expenditures and the dominance of current expenditures on most of them. It also criticized the absence of any approach to ensure the sustainability of public finance because of its high dependence on oil revenues with the absence of the ability to control the sharp fluctuation in its prices. The report included a correct stance against tolerance with the Public Debt Law unless a ceiling on current budget expenditures is placed and unless borrowing has unequivocal justifications to recover its benefits, financially or economically. Therefore, we believe that the personnel of the State Audit Bureau deserve appreciation. Preserving the entity independence and neutrality of its reports are difficult. We hope that its commendable practices extend to some other State institutions.