JPAC holds meeting after a brief delay

JPAC holds meeting after a brief delay

Members of the National Assembly’s Joint Public Accounts Committee today met in Belmopan. This is the first meeting held after the public hearings in which the Financial Secretary, the Auditor General, and the Accountant General provided lengthy testimonies to the committee. For the committee’s chair, Tracy Taegar-Panton, these meetings bode well for the country’s commitment to keeping the Government transparent and accountable. In each of the testimonies of the Accountant General, the Auditor General, and the Financial Secretary, committee members were told of the challenges of each department, including a need to strengthen resource capacity, and continued training. Panton says that while the committee has to examine a backlog of reports, these painstaking processes can help GOB strengthen its ability to prudently spend money.

Tracy Taegar-Panton, Chair, Joint Public Accounts Committee: “There has to be some sort of internal oversight or particularly for the bigger ministries whether it’s National Security or Education or Ministry of Works we need to be doing some internal auditing. These are huge ministries and therefore I think that’s very important that is where the bulk of the government’s spending goes. I think that the FOs and the accounting officers need to first of all be fully abreast with the laws that govern public spending and also be trained to use the new tools that they have been implemented so that they can keep better track of how monies are being spent and how reports are being generated on a regular basis so we can catch the red flags when they show up. The Committee can’t get the work finished until the relevant ministries get the work finished. So the accountant general indicated that they’re working with a particular consultant to try and bring the reports up to date so that she’s hoping within six to twelve months that we will start reviewing current reports. I think that will be helpful for us to really look critically at where in the system requires strengthening because it’s a whole financial system, it stems across ministries, it stems across oversight committees and therefore having more up to date information is going to be helpful in us understanding how whatever recommendations were in fact implemented have helped to strengthen the leakages that we see in use of public resources.”

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