Still no date set for PAC

| 03/11/2008

(CNS): Having cancelled one meeting planned for September to discuss the report from the Auditor General’s office on the failure of government departments to meet their accounting obligations, there is still no date fixed for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to assess the failure to account for some $1.5 billion in government spending.Osborne Bodden, Chair of the Committee said, however, that while there a date had not yet been agreed he expected the committee would meet in November.

Last week Leader of the Opposition Mckeeva Bush said that, given the need to reduce government spending in the face of the financial crisis, there was an even greater sense of urgency for the issue over government delinquency in accounting to be addressed.

“We need to better understand the state of the country’s financials over the past few years in order to properly analyse the implications of the present crisis. The government has promised to sort out these delayed accounts but we are no where closer to getting them and they have become even more important given the economic crisis we are currently facing,” Bush stated.

The PAC was supposed to meet to question CFO and assess the report by the Auditor General, Dan Duguay, The State of Financial Accountability Reporting in which he revealed the significant delay and poor quality of accounting for government spending over the last four years. The meeting was cancelled however, because of preparations for the Constitutional Modernisation talks with the UK, but no new dates have since been set.

Duguay also says he is keen for the committee to meet to examine the problem but he added that his office is continuing to work with all of the departments that are struggling to meet their financial reporting obligations.

“I’m looking forward to the committee meeting but whatever happens we are continuing to work with the Chief Financial officers to help get all these reports in and up to date,” Duguay told CNS. “We are doing our very best to help people and we have seen an improved commitment to getting this done and it is important that we make sure this is adequately addressed. We intend to keep measuring the timeliness of reporting and we will keep giving a scorecard on how government entities are progressing.”

With the reports for the financial year end 2007/08 due last month Duguay said that it was going to be very difficult for some departments, given the state of their accounting to get those in on time, but the Audit office would keep up its work to help and assist them and that he believed the release of his report had seen CFOs taking the situation more seriously.

“My goal is to have every department that is behind committed to a schedule to and to become better each year. This is not something that is going to be forgotten we continue to push everyone involved in this to comply.” Duguay added.

The report which is available on line at reveals the shocking failure of government departments and statutory authorities to account for the money they have spent going back some four years. With an estimated $1.5 billion not officially accounted for the report raised concern not just from politicians on both sides of the house but from the Governor, who said, this went to the heart of good governance and needed to be addressed.

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