Politics

Economy PS Signs Off Project Funds, Konrote Clarifies For Tabuya

Economy PS Ms Konrote clarified that information on the Budget including allocations placed under R or Requisition are available for all MPs to read, including Ms Tabuya.
19 Jun 2019 10:53
Economy PS Signs Off Project Funds, Konrote Clarifies For Tabuya
Permanent Secretary for Economy Makereta Konrote.

Read information publicly available.

This was the advice by the Permanent Secretary for Economy Makereta Konrote to Opposition Members of Parliament as she clarified that it was her role to sign off on project funds and not her Minister’s.

Her response came after SODELPA’s Lynda Tabuya, while giving her input to the 2019-2020 National Budget, referred to FijiFirst Ministers and said they had to wait around for money to be handed to them by the Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who in turn asked them for justification for that money.

Economy PS Ms Konrote clarified that information on the Budget including allocations placed under R or Requisition are available for all MPs to read, including Ms Tabuya.

“Information is out there and clarified last year and this is just a matter of them reading information made available.”

“While allocations are made in respective Ministries budgets, there is an assessment process or what we call RIE (requisition to incur expenditure), that takes place before funds under R are disbursed.

“Why was this held by the Ministry of Economy and signed off by Ms Konrote? To track progress of various projects and to ensure there is accountability.

“The RIE process provides an avenue or mechanism for new or large projects and programmes to be tracked and monitored through an assessment and documentation process that ensures funds are spent on the purpose for which it was allocated, and in line with Government’s financial and procurement regulations.”

The R has been a feature of every Budget and is primarily about best practice and robust financial management.

“The Finance Instruction 2010 (Sections 9A and B) was amended in the 2017-2018 Budget to delegate powers to the Permanent Secretary for Economy to approve expenditure under R up to $1 million, regardless of the total project or programme allocation.

“So, for example a project could be allocated a total of $50m under R, but if disbursements are $1m or below then the PS for Economy approves the RIE.

“Once a RIE is approved, funds are released to the respective Ministries/Departments drawings account. Only RIE applications that are above $1 million are approved by the Minister for Economy.

“This is also done after my team vets the documentation and only sends it after due process is followed, for sign off by the Minister.”

“The accountability of Ministries budgets is vested with the respective Permanent Secretary or the Head of the respective Budget Sector Agency. This is clearly reflected in the Budget Estimates.

“What checks and balances we have in place to ensure funds are not mismanaged?

“The Ministry of Economy has an in-house checklist which outlines the key items including the documentation(s), acquittals, Government tender board approvals etc that must be verified before approval is granted.”

Edited by Susana Tuilau

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