2011 Auditor General’s report headed to National Assembly
Possibly the most important report on the country’s financial management will be laid in the National Assembly this month-end. Auditor General, Deodat Sharma, and his team are working assiduously to complete the Public Accounts of Guyana on the Ministries, Departments and the Regions for the fiscal year 2011.
This is in keeping with the Audit Act under Section 25 which states, “The Auditor General should report annually, and within nine months of the end of each fiscal year, on the results of his audit of the consolidated financial statements and the accounts of budget agencies in relation to that fiscal year.”
According to Sharma, the deadline for this year’s report is September 30 and efforts are being made to meet this statutory deadline. Next week, he will be meeting with all Accounting Officers (Permanent Secretaries) before finalizing the report.
Sharma said that he is required under the Audit Act to provide the relevant Head of budget agency with a draft report including findings and recommendations. In turn, the Auditor General is provided with a written response within 30 days and it shall be included in the report before being presented to the National Assembly.
Presentation of the 2010 Report to the National Assembly raised eye brows as some malpractices within certain Ministries were revealed. For instance, at the Ministry of Health, drugs at the government’s storehouses were being entered into the system using pencils, with almost $40M in medicine being destroyed at one time in 2010, because of expiry.
Speaking on the implementations of recommendations, Sharma noted that most Accounting Officers try to rectify queries in the previous year. For instance, if there are overpayments to NIS or to a contractor, the Accounting Officers try to recover these so that in the next year’s report this would not be repeated.
He also noted that because of the recommendations issued most Accounting Officers try to answer queries before they are placed in the report. Sharma explained that there may be 30 queries but because written acceptable explanations were given for several, only about 15 are listed in the report.