Last week, I wrote about the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) receiving the ISO 9001:2015 certification for its quality management system covering all core services across its main and extension offices.
Barely a week after the formal awarding of the ISO certificate, the SEC received from the Commission on Audit (CoA) the independent report of State Auditor Concepcion Reyes. In that July 30, 2020 report, she bestowed an unqualified opinion, or audit rating, on the fairness of the presentation of the SEC’s 2019 financial statements, affirming its commitment to improve the ease of doing business in the country by eliminating red tape and other opportunities for graft and corruption, among others.
“In our opinion, the accompanying financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Securities and Exchange Commission as [of Dec.] 31, 2019, and its financial performance, changes in net assets/equity, cash flows, comparison of budget and actual amounts for the year then ended, and notes to the financial statements, in accordance with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.”
Under these standards, auditors issue an unqualified or unmodified opinion when they conclude that the financial statements, as a whole, are free from material misstatements, which could arise from either fraud or error.
This is the second time the SEC received such an opinion, with the first for 2018.
Getting the CoA’s unqualified audit rating is a result of the SEC leadership’s thrust to improve the quality of its services and maintain its efforts, as an institution, toward meeting the highest standards of transparency, accountability and good governance.
“The unqualified opinion rendered by CoA affirms our commitment to honest, sound and prudent use of public resources to improve our operations for the benefit of the people we serve,” SEC Chairman Emilio Aquino said.
“The audit rating also strengthens our position to lead by example, as it speaks of our adherence to the highest standards of transparency, accountability and good governance that we likewise require of corporations, capital market participants and other entities under our supervision in the best interest of their investors, clients and other stakeholders,” he added.
With that, allow me to congratulate the SEC chairman, commissioners, directors and employees who worked so hard to get the unqualified or unmodified opinion. Well done!
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On a separate note, I recently came across a report from Fitch Ratings, titled “Public Debt Rise Underscores Policy Challenges in APAC Outlook” and dated Sept. 8, 2020. I thought I would share some of its findings here.
The report provides Fitch’s estimates and forecasts for Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries in terms of general government debt as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2020.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the general government debt-to-GDP ratio measures the gross debt of the general government as a percentage of GDP. It is a key indicator for the sustainability of government finance.
Although our general government debt-to-GDP ratio increased to 47.8 percent, possibly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we still have a lower general government debt-to-GDP ratio than the peer median in APAC countries. Australia’s is estimated at 47.9 percent; Japan, 259.2 percent; Malaysia, 72.9; India, 87.9 percent; and China, 55.9 percent. The estimate for the United States is 115 percent.