Sep 25, 2011 News
The government is working towards the establishment of an internal audit division within the Ministry of Finance. This division will revamp and strengthen what was previously known as the Inspectorate Division.
This is according to the Finance Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, who was responding to questions about irregularities in financial management observed by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The Finance Secretary noted that as financial systems become more modernised, the need for improvement in the management and control of these systems becomes vital to the successful operation of such systems.
It is in light of this fact that improvement in the area of internal control has gained significant prominence, the Finance Secretary noted, hence the reason for the setting up of the internal audit division.
The Public Accounts Committee, in its examination of the Accounts of Guyana for 2007 and 2008, had pointed to general problems observed in government financial management, public accounts statements and specific issues relating to Budget Agencies (Ministries, Departments and Regions).
A Treasury Memorandum was recently laid in the National Assembly, providing responses to the observations of the PAC.
The Finance Secretary stated that the Ministry of Finance has always recognised that many of the issues raised by the Auditor General in his reports, as well as the concerns highlighted in the reports of the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly, can be reduced through the use of prudent financial management policies.
The solution to the problems, the Finance Secretary noted, could also be found in improved Information Technology, closer monitoring of the activities within the agencies through the conduct of frequent inspections and ongoing training programmes.
The Finance Secretary noted that the government continues to emphasise the need for a modern public finance management system and to this end 2003 saw accelerated impetus with respect to transforming the financial management landscape, by repealing several sections of the Financial Administration and Audit Act (FAAA), and enacting the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMAA) 2003, the Procurement Act 2003, the Audit Act 2004 and the respective accompanying regulations, all of which combined contributed to improved management of our scare resources.
Additionally, it was noted that in support of this modernisation process Government introduced the Integrated Financial Management and Accountability System (IFMAS) which assisted in further transforming the financial management architecture of the Public Sector, but more specifically the Central Government Agencies, as it facilitated the introduction and utilisation of a single bank account for all Central Government transactions, as well as the automation of financial systems.
This modernisation process resulted in the automation of several processes, including budget implementation and control with respect to the release of funds; the payroll processes via an interface (Smart Stream and eFinancials —Free Balance); the preparation and approval of vouchers; the preparation and printing of cheques; cheque signatures; system security; and the production of the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Collectively, the Finance Secretary noted, that these improvements have allowed for timelier and improved activities in relation to the decision making processes, the execution of programmes, the processing of transactions; the preparation and completion of the Consolidated Financial Statements; the continued implementation of financial best practices.
The Finance Secretary said that given the transformation of the country’s financial management system is ongoing, it is imperative that capacity is not only developed but also maintained.
Towards this end, the Finance Secretary noted that regular training programmes have been designed and are continuously being delivered in an effort to support and enable the efficient and effective functioning of all Budget Agencies (Ministries, Departments and Regions).
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