The Government of Guyana is presently preparing the terms of reference for an auditor external to Guyana to examine the operations of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The audit which is expected to begin early in the new year is an initiative of the Ministry of Finance which has garnered the full support of the GRA’s Board of Directors.
This is according to Chairman of the GRA board, Rawle Lucas.
In a recent interview with Stabroek New,s Lucas noted that while he has not seen the report of a recent audit conducted by the government audit department he does know that the “government has indicated that it wants to bring an external auditor to do a complete audit of GRA.”
This auditor, he explained is not only to be “external to GRA but external to Guyana,” Lucas said.
The reason for such a decision lies in the acknowledgement that many Guyanese auditors “might be biased in one way or another since they will have some relationship with GRA whether positive or negative.”
According to Lucas this relationship could result in a conflict of interest for local auditors.
Lucas shared his opinion that the GRA is the most important government institution outside of the presidency since it is the entity charged with collecting the resources that the government uses for its development programmes and for operational purposes.
“It is important for us as the general public to have an idea of how well the entity is being run and how well the resources of the entity are being managed by those responsible for same,” he said.
He further explained that “it is almost 15 years since GRA has been in existence and with the change in government I think it is very good for the people to have an appreciation of what the new government is being asked to managed and by the time their term of office is over they will be in a better position to make a better evaluation of the stewardship of the new administration.”
While he believes that “in that sense alone the audit is valuable” Lucas noted that as a matter of “good governance and management practice it is always good to have frequent independent audits so that the nation as a whole can feel satisfied that the money it is giving to the government could be properly accounted for.”
Repeated efforts to seek a comment on the issue from the Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan failed.