SAI Activity Report for 2020 Adopted at the Plenary Session of the National Assembly

14 October 2021.
SAI Activity Report for 2020 Adopted at the Plenary Session of the National Assembly

Today, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Activity Report of the State Audit Institution for 2020, submitted by the State Audit Institution, with the Draft Conclusion of the Committee on Finance, Republic Budget and Control of Public Expenditure from June 16th 2021.

During presentation of the Activity Report of the State Audit Institution for 2020, at the Second Session of the Second Regular Sitting of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Dr. Duško Pejović, President and Auditor General of the State Audit Institution, stated that the State Audit Institution published 254 audit reports in 2020, which is five percent more than 241 audit reports published in 2019.

Dr. Pejović emphasized that in 2020, 39 audit reports were issued with clean (positive) auditor’s opinion, 107 reports received qualified opinion and four reports received negative opinion.

When comparing the opinions provided in audit reports published in 2018 and 2019, there is an increasing tendency for reports with positive audit opinions, and at the same time decreasing tendency for the reports with qualified and negative opinions, while there were no reports with disclaimer of opinion in 2020, Dr. Pejović stressed.

During 2020, SAI also conducted 17 audits of response reports, where it was determined that eight audited entities violated the obligation of good business practices.

Regarding the identified misstatements and irregularities, the misstatements in the preparatory work for compiling financial reports amount to 56.57 billion dinars, which is a significant decrease compared to 2019, when 163.2 billion dinars were determined.

When it comes to financial statements, misstatements were noticed in the amount of 376 billion dinars, which is a decrease compared to the previous year amounting to 441 billion dinars, but the amount is still at a very high level, Dr. Pejovic said.

According to Dr. Pejović, in 2020, SAI determined irregularities in the amount of 130 billion dinars, which mainly refers to public procurement.

Irregularities in public procurements are large and they participate in the total irregularities with 129 billion dinars, the Auditor General pointed out and added that as much as 97 percent of irregularities in public procurements are related to three auditees.

The audits effects, conducted in 2020, amount to 376 billion dinars. This is the effect of determined errors and it is lower by 64.9 billion compared to 2019.

Regarding financial management and control, the situation is the same as in the previous period, and the similar situation can be seen in internal audit - 43 percent of audited entities, which were audited last year, have established internal audit, while 57 percent have not done so.

When we compare errors in revenues and incomes, in expenditures and expenses, then it is obvious that the errors in 2020 are lower, said Dr. Pejović and added that the errors in revenues and incomes in 2020 amounted to 0.72 percent, and in 2019, they amounted to 2.02 percent.

Dr. Pejović reminded that in 2020, the SAI audited a total of three trillion and 133 billion dinars, namely two trillion and 964 billion dinars from the Budget, 167.5 billion dinars of public enterprises and 1.08 billion dinars related to the revenues of political parties.

Regarding expenditures and expenses, the State Audit Institution reviewed three trillion and 73 billion dinars, where a decrease in total irregularities was determined, but at the same time an increase of misstatements in the financial statements, explained Dr. Pejović.

The public debt is expressed in the amounts published by the Republic Bureau of Statistics, and as of December 31, 2020, it amounted to 58.2 percent.

The President of the SAI reminded that in 2020, 13 performance audit reports were published, while this year 14 performance audits are being conducted.

The State Audit Institution gave a total of 2155 recommendations in 2020, and the degree of implementation of the recommendations of the first priority, which refers to the 90-day deadline, is 91.38 percent.

According to Dr. Pejović, the SAI drew attention to the regulations that have not been adopted, to issues that are not regulated according to the regulations, as well as to the inconsistency of certain regulations on the same issue. On that basis, as he added, the Decree on Budget Accounting was amended.

In 2020, SAI submitted 135 charges, namely 103 requests for initiating misdemeanor proceedings against 122 persons, 24 charges for economic offence against 152 persons, eight criminal charges against eight responsible persons, as well as 26 pieces of information to the competent authorities, Dr. Pejović emphasized.

When it comes to the effects only from the financial statements, which relate to the increase in revenues or decrease in expenditures, in 2020 they were determined in the amount of 602 million dinars, which is an increase of 3.6 percent compared to the effects in 2019, when they amounted to 169 million dinars.

During the discussion, Dr. Aleksandra Tomić, Member of Parliament and Chair of the Committee on Finance, Republic Budget and Control of Public Expenditure, emphasized that the view of the National Assembly was that SAI comprehensively presented its activities in its Report, while exercising constitutional and legal competencies in auditing public funds.

Prof. Dr. Milorad Mijatović, MP and member of the Committee on Finance, Republic Budget and Control of Public Expenditure, commended the work of the State Audit Institution.

The State Audit Institution is doing its job very well, I repeat again, very well, and it has grown into a strong independent institution that has a reputation in the Republic of Serbia. I will always give you my full support, to employ young people, to modernize, to have better IT support, which is necessary in these times, said Mr. Mijatović.

Speaking about the State Audit Institution, Hadži Milorad Stošić, MP, points out that SAI presents an extremely important independent institution with the main goal of controlling the spending of public funds and pointed out that it was commendable that we can see that SAI tried to implement all planned audit processes last year, despite COVID-19 problems.

Mr. Slavenko Unković, MP, emphasized that the State Audit Institution is one of the key links in the system of financial responsibility in our country. SAI performs checks whether public funds are spent efficiently and responsibly and economically and in accordance with the law, and it certainly has a significant role in the economic development of our country, said Mr. Unković.

Conclusion The Committee on Finance, Republic Budget and Control of Public Exoenditure, regarding considering the Activity Report of the SAI for 2020, was adopted unanimously, with the votes of 158 MPs.