Some government ministries are being chided by Auditor General, Pamela Munroe-Ellis, for failing to present appropriation accounts going back almost ten years.
That’s according to the Auditor General’s annual report tabled in the House of Representatives Tuesday.
This means the various entities have not accorded the Auditor General nor the Ministry of Finance the opportunity to review the management of their approved budgets.
This has resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in financial exposure.
Chevon Campbell has that story.
In terms of the gross sum, the Ministry of Education is by far the worst offender.
According to the Auditor General, up to the time of reporting, the education ministry has still not submitted its Appropriation Accounts for the seven years 2012-13 to 2018-19 and 2021-22.
Munroe Ellis says this failure has denied the Jamaican people an opportunity to review the $758 billion worth of approved budgets over seven years against the country’s policy direction as well as the impact the result may have in guiding approval of subsequent budgets.
The Auditor General is calling on the education ministry to implement a proper system of internal controls to prevent, detect and correct errors and irregularities and to ensure the Appropriation Accounts are prepared timely and accurately.
The Ministry of Health has also been found in breach leaving the Auditor General unable to verify the expenditure of $560 billion in budgeted allocations of the last nine years.
After the audit, the health ministry advised that the suggested period has been completed and submitted to the Internal Audit Unit for verification. It also explained that the delay was due to challenges with its server.
The Auditor General recommended an immediate investigation be conducted to determine the cause of the protracted delay.
The Minister of Finance itself rounds out the top three. According to the Auditor General the ministry had not submitted the Appropriation Accounts for the Fiscal Year’s 2019 -20 to 2021-22 with approved budgets of $208 billion.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is on the hook for $75 billion over a seven year period. Munroe Ellis is encouraging the ministry’s management to act immediately to strengthen its systems of internal controls to detect and correct errors and irregularities promptly.
The Financial Administration and Audit Act stipulates that accounting officers submit to the finance minister and the Auditor General, appropriation accounts setting out the expenditure for the year against the approved budgetary allocation.
This is to be done within four months after the end of such a financial year.
The Auditor General is required by law to audit these accounts and give an opinion on whether the money expended has been used for the purpose for which it was approved, and that the expenditure does not exceed the amount authorized.