Apr 29, 2018 News
Accountant General Jennifer Chapman has identified the continued absence of financial regulations to govern municipalities and district councils.
According to Chapman, authorities are legally guided by the Municipal and District Council Act (Ch. 28:01) to perform in a fiscal responsible manner.
She stated that Part 4, Section 148 of the Act states that the Minister may make financial regulations for controlling and managing financial business of councils.
“To date, financial regulations for the Municipal and District Council Act 28:01 have not been enacted. It should be noted that financial regulations will outline the system of financial control to ensure the proper administration of the councils’ financial affairs aimed at ensuring the effective and efficient use in compliance with the law and regulation as the basis of improved service delivery,” Chapman stated.
She highlighted the issue while addressing a two-day action roundtable at Tower Hotel last Thursday for municipal financial management that targeted municipal treasurers, town clerks and finance committee chairmen.
Mortimer Mingo, Chairman of the Local Government Commission, said that the Act speaks broadly about the functions of the treasurer, and finance committee, but there is need to have harmonization of the financial procedures.
“‘The time has come now more than ever before that they should be and must be uniformity across all of the municipalities as to the way we conduct our financial affairs so that we do not have a situation where one municipality is engaged in a certain financial practice and another municipality is addressing those very financial issues in a different matter,” Mingo stated.
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan told Kaieteur News that the financial regulations will be in place before local government elections are held by mid-November.
The Accountant General said that every large organization needs financial framework which provides the necessary control on financial matters while at the same time encouraging best value in prompting local authority.
Chapman urged advocates for transparency and accountability to take steps to educate and whip up the interest of the relevant authorities on financial responsibility to enable them to have the appreciation of financial responsibilities in municipalities to hold them accountable for their bad actions or inaction.
“Financial accountability in local government administration certainly does go beyond the provision of financial information statements. As Government matters, there is an element of expectations and behaviours in financial accountability.
“ The press for financial statements will not make sense if mechanisms are not put in place to ensure effective and efficient management of financial resources transferred to the local government authorities,” Chapman stated.
She said that the role of central Government is to ensure that local government authorities are fully accountable.
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