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PM’s Office Praised: PAC

The Prime Minister’s Office could be a model for how other Government ministries handle their finances. Acting Permanent Secretary for the Prime Minister’s Office, Naipote Katonitabua was praised for implementing
30 Jan 2015 10:58
PM’s Office Praised: PAC
Public Accounts Committee chairman Biman Prasad (left), and deputy chairman Balmindar Singh at Parliament yesterday. Photo: Jona Konataci

The Prime Minister’s Office could be a model for how other Government ministries handle their finances.

Acting Permanent Secretary for the Prime Minister’s Office, Naipote Katonitabua was praised for implementing recommendations from the Auditor-General’s Office. He briefed the Public Accounts Committee yesterday on reforms within the Prime Minister’s Office.

Part of the measures implemented include:

-MOUs for projects over $50,000

– rigorous financial monitoring, evaluation and reporting on a monthly and quarterly basis

– annual procurement plan

Mr Katonitabua revealed that even the Prime Minister’s discretionary powers over the use of small grants ($7 million in 2015 NationalBudget) was bound by the annual procurement plan.

Both PAC chairman Biman Prasad and the acting Auditor-General commended Mr Katonitabua and his staff for the internal controls within the PM’s Office and recommended that other ministries followed suit.

Seven permanent secretaries turned up to update the Public Accounts Committee on how they were implementing recommendations from the PAC.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Acting Permanent Secretary Esala Nayasi revealed the challenges of having only four staff in their accounts department to look after 25 divisions within the ministry.

He said his staff were working with the Ministry of Finance to deal with all anomalies and clarify policies and standard operating procedures.

Similar assurances were made by acting permanent secretary for finance Kelera Vakaloloma, Permament Secretary for iTaukei Affairs Savenaca Kaunisela,   Permanent Secretary for Local Government Samuela Namosimalua and Permanent Secretary for Public Enterprises Shaheen Ali.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) chief executive Jitoko Tikolevu promised the PAC that his team was ‘committed 110 per cent to the cause.’

The FRCA presentation revealed that since 2007, they had reduced arrears by 65 per cent and were conducting ongoing training sessions with Government ministries on dealing with VAT reconciliation, an ongoing issue in the Auditor-General’s reports from 2007-2013.

The PAC expressed concern about the Naboro Landfill and the current contractor during the presentation from the Ministry of Local Government.

The committee members are planning intervention to investigate the current status of the Landfill.

Permanent Secretary for Public Enterprises Shaheen Ali also asssured the committee that Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) was forecasted to rake in $20-$40 million for the Fiji Government in the next 2-3 years.

The committee meets at 9am today.

Feedback: josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 

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