National Council (NC) introduced the Audit Bill 2017 yesterday.

It is the only new legislative Bill the house will pass this session.

Introducing the Bill to the house, the chairman of the legislative committee, Tashi Phuntsho, said the existing Audit Act has been very effective.

“However, limitations are impeding effective functioning of the Royal Audit Authority of Bhutan,” he said.

The Bill, according to NC members, will address issues in greater detail that the existing Audit Act does not cover.

The Bill will go to the National Assembly for deliberations. It seeks to repeal the Audit Act of Bhutan 2006.

The principal objective of this Bill is promotion of accountability, transparency, integrity and value for money in public operations. The Bill confers on the audit authority adequate powers necessary to carry out the audits without fear, favour, or prejudice.

According to the Bill, the audit authority should be an independent and non-partisan institution headed by Auditor General.

The Bill says that the state should make adequate financial provisions for the independent administration of the authority.

The authority will have power to appeal to Parliament if it considers that fund provided to the authority is not adequate to carry out its functions effectively.

In case of Parliament’s decision on national budgets is delayed, the authority will be provided with interim funds.

“Such funds shall be not less than the previous year’s budget for the authority,” the report states.

Except for the auditor general, service conditions of the employees will be governed by the Civil Service Act. All employees, including the auditor general, will be entitled to receive 30 percent migsel soelra granted under a royal decree in addition to the normal pay and allowances for the civil servants.

The authority may seal, search and seize documents and other related records and keep those under proper custody and control wherever it is considered necessary.

According to the Bill, decisions and actions of the auditor general should be transparent and he shall give reasons for his decisions.

An official equal to the rank of a deputy auditor general shall head regional offices of the authority. RAA will enjoy full functional independence in planning and programming, investigation and reporting of its findings.

Except for the auditor general, the authority will be empowered to regulate appointment, management, and dismissal of its employees in accordance with the Civil Service Act.

MB Subba