Auditor General Sonia Webster made that disclosure during the recently-concluded Standing Finance Committee (SFC) proceedings.
According to the 2020 SFC report on the proceedings, “the Auditor General stated one of the primary objectives for 2020 is bringing the statutory bodies accounts up to date. She noted, however, that one of her major challenges was a shortage of staff. She stated that the department has four senior auditor posts that are vacant and there is a new procedure, where a department has to apply to have a position advertised. A request was made to have one of the vacant posts advertised. However, she had not received a response”.
Outstanding reports should be treated as national emergency
During the said SFC meeting, the government minister Carvin Malone asked what could be done to have the 2017, 2018 and 2019 financial statements submitted by June or August 2020.
Malone then noted that he had asked the Minister of Finance to have this matter as “a national emergency to have the accounts of the country audited no matter what the circumstances”.
In response, Webster said the issue of inadequate staffing must be addressed to facilitate bringing the accounts up to date.
“… 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,” the SFC report stated.
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