Deputy Premier, Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Carvin Malone has asked Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie to have the completion of the outstanding audited financial reports completed.
The incomplete reports are already being labelled as a national emergency.
The outstanding financial audits have been referred to in the past as a blemish on the Territory’s financial reporting and was a matter that was harped on by the current Premier while he was the Leader of the Opposition.
The disclosure of the request by Hon. Malone is coupled by the Premier’s announcement that the matter will be treated as a Territorial priority. Both of these announcements were made public in the report from the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) deliberations.
It was stated that Hon. Malone after listening to comments from Auditor General (AG) Sonia Webster became more concerned about the matter, and queried the solution.
“What could be done to have the 2017, 2018 and 2019 financial statements submitted by June or August 2020,” Hon. Malone asked.
AG Outlines Cause of Delay
During her appearance before the Committee, the Auditor General gave an update on the annual financial reports.
She said, “During the course of 2019, the 2017 financial statements were received, reviewed and returned to presented at International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) which is an improved way of presenting the statements the Treasury Department for amendments."
It was noted that the department had not received the 2018 financial statements.”
It was mentioned that the Auditor General is planning to bring the statutory bodies’ accounts up to date in the new year; however, she noted that staffing shortage was a challenge.
Webster told legislators that some of the issues that her department has is with staffing which is similar to that of the Treasury Department. She stated that there was a focus attempt to get the reports up to date by hiring an individual whose sole focus was to prepare the Accounts.
However, she noted that the individual left the Territory this year around June or July after submitting the 2017 statements.
Webster added that with his departure, and without someone assisting the Accountant General, she could foresee that there might be challenges in obtaining the amendments that are needed to complete the 2017 statements, in addition to obtaining the submission of the 2018 statements which were due by March 2019.
She further stated that if the Treasury Department is to achieve what the Minister was suggesting, the department would need the necessary resources.