Audit Board warning: “Be transparent, accountable, effective”

Chairman of the Indonesian Audit Board (Badan Pemeriksa Keuangan – “BPK”) Agung Firman Sampurna. (Photo: ANTARA FOTO/M. RISYAL HIDAYAT)

IO – Chairman of the Indonesian Audit Board (Badan Pemeriksa Keuangan – “BPK”) Agung Firman Sampurna has reminded the Government to continue performing its duties transparently and accountably, despite the current health and economic crisis. “Even in such a pandemic emergency, the principles of good governance such as transparency and accountability must still be adhered to. We must comply with rules and regulations no matter what,” he warned, during a Kickoff Meeting for Audit of State Financial Management and Accountability during the Pandemic, held at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, on Tuesday (08/09/2020). 

Agung is fully aware that during an emergency, like the one we are currently facing, the Government must enact policies quickly and streamline bureaucratic procedures in place of complex ones. However, transparency and accountability in budget management is necessary, in order to prevent misuse. Therefore, he promised President Joko Widodo that he would submit audit reports frequently and regularly in order to prevent potential for deviation, maintaining the principles of transparency and accountability. “We design the audit procedures to match with the current emergency conditions, to allow the President in his capacity of the Head of State to obtain routine audit information every month,” he said. 

The State’s financial management during the pandemic is performed according to Government Regulations in lieu of Law Number 1 of 2020 concerning Financial Policies and Financial System Stability for the Mitigation of the COVID-19 Pandemic. With this ruling, the Government has the authority to make quick use of the Budget in order to mitigate the current health and economic crisis. “We encourage that the audit be performed as quickly as possible, so that we can discover new and better solutions for crisis management and support existing crisis mitigation activities,” President Jokowi stated in his address at the Palace. “Being transparent, accountable, and effective are part of the Government’s responsibility, whether it is the Central Government, Regional Government, or other State agencies; Bank Indonesia, Financial Services Authority (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan – “OJK”), State-owned Enterprises, public service agencies and Region-owned Enterprises, the Army and the Police; all of them must support BPK’s management of the State’s Finances for the transparent, accountable, and effective mitigation of COVID-19,” he said at the same event. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone in the Government, from the Central to the Regional Governments, as well as the Army, the Police, and State-owned Enterprises, to take extra-ordinary steps to mitigate this health and economic crisis. “The Government must move rapidly to evacuate Indonesian citizens out of pandemic areas. We must provide large numbers and volumes of hospitals, isolation wards, health equipment, and medicine at extremely short notice,” the President said. “The Government must mobilize all of its officials to discipline the people so that they will comply with health protocols, and everything must be performed extraordinarily – unusually, non-standardized. Everything must be completed quickly, using simple procedures, shortcuts must be made – everything for the people’s safety. Our citizens’ safety is much more important than complicated procedures that we artificially make, that it is time for us to replace anyway.” 

Such extraordinary effort must also be made in the economy. Social aid in the form of basic necessity aid, cash supplement, must be provided to citizens who suddenly find themselves unemployed and without income. “Assistance for micro, small, and medium-size businesses; wage subsidies and credit restructuring must also be performed quickly in order to prevent further deterioration of the economy, and to ensure that economic activities can continue,” the President said. 

We all need to be on the same wavelength, to be aware that we really are in a critical condition. The Government must shift from ordinary work channels to extraordinary ones. “The same as the rest of the world, we need time before we can be freed from this crisis. The Government still needs work flexibility and simplicity of procedures in order to ensure that all issues are handled quickly, effectively, and efficiently,” the President said. 

From the start, President has ordered that all levels of Government maintain accountability, transparency, and innovation while prioritizing the primary purpose of any program it runs. “We welcome BPK’s effort and we are tuning in to the same frequency in order to find the best way to revive public health, recover the economy, and even make leaps of progress. I hope that all auditors are tuned to the same frequency as well and prioritize the interests of the people, the nation, and the State,” he said. (dan)