At the beginning of 2020, the world has witnessed the outbreak of Covid 19 virus and by consequence the infection of a large number of citizens with this virus.
Egypt has taken positive steps towards implementing the instructions of the World Health Organization among them the necessity to carry out large-scales of sterilization operations as well as the preparation of isolation hospitals with suitable equipments to cure the infected citizens, and allocating treatment protocol for them. In order to implement these measures it was required from all state agencies to undertake emergency measures in order to provide necessary funding to confront this pandemic.
This pandemic is one of these crisis that have affected the whole world as well as the public entities and Auditing Institutions.
It is characterized as an event that adversely affected the ability to achieve certain tasks and functions as well as some vital strategic goals and other goals.
The crisis management mechanism of treatment is divided into several phases. Each phase will depend on the results of the previous ones.
The pre-crisis period is the first stage and is characterized by the scanning of the new threats in the external environment and whether there are warning signals missed, are there new vulnerabilities in our SAI to be considered, are there new methods of detections that can be used?
The phase of protection and planning, which is characterized by the composition of a crisis management team as well as assessing the need to change the plan of crisis management and if the Supreme Audit Institutions can take advantage of new types of training in order to face this crisis. The final step would be to find out if there are additional resources in the public institutions that could help in doing the planning.
As for the emergency phase or for the phase during the crisis and the way to respond to it effectively and how to exploit the resources that are provided if it is important to identify the required needs, and how the Supreme Audit Institutions would cooperate in the best way with stakeholders that manage that crisis.
Through measuring the experience of the Accountability State Authority (ASA) in the Arab Republic of Egypt, it was found that the Supreme Audit Institutions must possess sufficient flexibility in order to meet these emergency requirements within the state’s general budget. The most important sources of these funds are the emergency needs arising from Covid 19 pandemic through the general reserves section of the state’s general budget. It is allocated under the provisions of laws and legislation to meet the inevitable, emergency obligations. This section has authorized the inclusion of total appropriations for some entities as general reserves in order to meet national or emergency obligations or other expenditures as well as any other obligations that could not be taken into account when preparing the draft budget.
Moreover, more provisions have been allocated by countries to support the national economy. The Ministry of Finance provides them as an example for supporting the relevant sectors, including, the health sector, the supply sector to provide basic food commodities to citizens and to provide additional quantities of wheat and food commodities as well as to support the tourism, the aviation sector and the industrial sector.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance provides vaccines against the Covid-19 virus in the largest possible quantity and as quick as possible for the deserving categories according to priorities, especially medical staff, critical and chronic cases, infected cases and the most needed elder categories, under the auspices of social protection programs.
The phase of post-emergency or post-crisis depends on the resilience and flexibility of the Supreme Audit Institutions and their ability to anticipate and absorb risks or crises and recover from them.
The internal conditions of Supreme Audit Institutions flexibility depend mainly on the continuous ability to adapt with events, changes in protocols, non-compliance with classic procedures as well as the development of multiple scenarios and the identification of difficulties and obstacles that could prevent the achievement of the established goals or could delay achieving them, from the evaluation of the recommendations and suggestions. All these elements will support the ability of the Supreme Audit Institutions to achieve strategic and operations management at this phase.
Supreme Audit Institutions should develop policies that aim to control and to monitor measures, in order to develop the practices and to present it in an optimal way as well as documenting those practices in a research method and activating an updated draft for guidance and direction, and piloting the methodology in the SAIs.
The Supreme Audit Institutions bear the responsibility for implementing and spreading these methodologies. This requires the use of tools for dissemination including e-learning courses at the level of all agencies during the coming years.
These courses will aim to objectively evaluate the methods of dealing with the crisis and the levels of success to overcome it as well as studying the shortcomings, discovering the causes that led to them, and the ability to collect and transfer expertise in the field.
Moreover it is necessary to the relevant information related to the meetings outcome and to emphasize the importance of building of systems that provide feedback and reactions later, while benefiting from the best practices of other Supreme Audit Institutions that have encountered similar types of crisis.
In what concerns external factors related to Supreme Audit Institutions; they are presented through the effectiveness of the accountability system in reviewing and enhancing economic recovery efforts beside maintaining a work capabilities that would enable to cover all resources and public funds that has been used in response to the crisis in view of the degree of preparation of the government agencies.
Supreme Audit Institutions have great responsibilities to arrange their priorities according to their importance in the post-crisis phase. They have to define the tasks that should be activated and the tasks that could be postponed within the appropriate time frames, as well as to provide sufficient flexibility to achieve strategic and operations management .The Supreme Audit Institutions should have the ability to develop the specific policies that relates to control and monitoring measures during this phase.