Opposition Leader and MP for Aoke Langalanga, Hon. Matthew Wale has questioned the delay in the completion of national government accounts for purposes of auditing as required by the Constitution, the Public Finance and Audit Act and the Public Finance Management Act.
Hon. Wale is responding to reports that the most recent audited national accounts have only reached up to the year 2017.
“This means that the national accounts for 2018 and 2019 are outstanding. Clearly, the law has been breached in this matter, and there is no justification for a breach,” says Hon. Wale.
The Opposition Leader therefore expressed grave concern that this blatant breach is allowed to happen, and worse, is allowed to continue for an unreasonably long time, after the statutory time limits.
“The people of this country expect government to comply with the laws relating to national accounts and audit, and it further erodes the people’s trust in government when serious breaches of the reporting deadlines occur.
“The law requires that the Ministry of Finance submit to the Auditor General the national accounts within six months of the financial year end, for purposes of audit. The Auditor General has been forced into the awkward position of breaching his own statutory reporting deadlines, directly caused by government’s negligence,” the Opposition Leader added.
Hon. Wale further adds that, “This breach of reporting by the government seems to be a recurring theme, and the delay seems to be getting longer. A similar delay affected auditing of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 national accounts. We must be very concerned about this neglect of a very important responsibility”.
Hon. Wale pointed out that with frequent changes to government expenditure decisions and priorities over the years, it is important that the Auditor General is able to perform his work and report on the government’s accounts to assure the public about government’s management of public finances is consistent with laws and annual appropriations.
“Someone must be held responsible, and the Minister of Finance must take the necessary steps to ensure that the law is complied with. It is not good enough that serious breaches of the law are permitted and entertained, and no one is held accountable for such blatant breaches,” said the Opposition Leader.