Abu Dhabi government pushes for better public accounting amid oil price weakness

Abu Dhabi’s government has demanded more detailed levels of auditing and financial reporting in the public sector as oil prices fall, according to the Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority (Adaa) chairman Riyad Al Mubarak.

“We are now producing some different types of reports requested by [government] shareholders and stakeholders,” Mr Al Mubarak said at a Mena government auditing conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

“The information and detail they’re asking for is already there, only now they are asking us to go into greater detail in the reports we produce,” he said.

“But whether oil prices are low or high, our job is ultimately the same – to provide accurate and timely information.”

The UAE’s Cabinet last month announced a federal budget of Dh48.5 billion for next year, compared with Dh49.1 bn for this year, because of lower government revenue from the drop in oil prices.

Mr Al Mubarak was speaking on the sidelines of the Accountability.Now summit, co-organised by Adaa and the International Federation of Accountants. The summit, which concludes today, aims to highlight the link between better government reporting, improved public services and economic growth across the Middle East and North Africa.

“For our region in particular, as the economy continues to grow, it is important to put measures in place today that will support our long-term sustainable development efforts,” said Mr Al Mubarak.

“Enhanced public financial reporting supports better decision-making, and this helps attract increased investment and contributes to stronger, more sustainable public services.”

The IFAC chief executive Fayez Choudhury said that while countries require private-sector organisations to prepare audited financial statements, similar requirements often do not apply to the public sector.

“Better government reporting enables more informed decision-making – a crucial step to encouraging greater trust between citizens and the institutions providing public services,” he said.

Adaa was established in 2008 as an independent corporate body to promote accountability and transparency in the emirate’s public sector.

Among the bodies under its purview are government departments, local councils and all companies or projects in which the government owns more than a 50 per cent share.


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