By: Kebba AF Touray
The Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) has ordered Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other entities to prepare and submit their accounts and financial statements before the end of 2023.
The committee has also resolved that MDAs that have not prepared and submitted their Financial Statements up to 2020 will have only their budget allocations for Salaries and Utilities considered.
In the same vein, the committee also said the legislative Select Committee on Regional Government, Ombudsman and IEC should ensure that the Local Government Act, 2002 and the Finance and Audit Manual, 2004 are reviewed.
FPAC made these resolutions in its report on the 2019 accounts of government MDAs, Municipality and Area Councils, which was tabled before plenary during the last ordinary session, by the Committee Chairperson Hon. Alhagie S Darboe.
“The Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) hereby resolves that the Judiciary should prepare their accounts and submit them to the National Assembly, with effect from the year ended 31st December 2023,” he said while tabling the report.
Jarjue added that the MDAs that have not prepared and submitted their Financial Statements up to 2020 would have only their budget allocations for salaries and utilities considered, and that compliance level of institutions should be clearly defined or stated in the Compliance Review Report by GPPA.
FPAC, he said, also resolved that the GPPA should submit their annual work plans to the National Assembly latest by 31 January each year, challenging that the Audited Accounts of all Institutions for the year ended 31 December 2019 to 2022, must be prepared and submitted to the National Assembly by the end of December 2023.
He said, “The Sub-vented Institutions are strictly advised by FPAC not to give loans or credit facilities to their line Ministries, and all Government institutions must immediately desist from entering into rental agreements without going through the Committee on Rent and Accommodation (CORA)”.
Chairperson Darboe said the government should work on a long-term plan to create a new office complex for all the Ministries and their satellite institutions.
“There is the need for MoFEA to regularize data collection in the country through a regulatory framework,” he added.
He told the plenary that the committee has also resolved that the Accountant General should consider implementing the Assets Module of EPICOR so that government institutions can use it to store their asset register.
On the NAO, he said FPAC resolved it should incorporate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) audits in their regular audits, noting that the vote controllers of all MDAs must be present to respond to queries when the audited accounts of Government are being discussed.
“Every institution summoned to appear before FPAC must be represented by the Board Chairperson, Director General or CEO, and Director of Finance. The Director General of GPPA or his competently delegated representative must be present at all meetings of FPAC to present timely compliance review reports on MDAs,” he said.
He also said that the Select Committee on Regional Government, Ombudsman and IEC should ensure that the Local Government Act, 2002 and the Finance and Audit Manual, 2004 are reviewed, stating that when Central Government accounts are presented, GPPA must also present compliance reviews of all MDAs so that the issues can be considered collectively.
He stated that the committee emphasized the need for it to be given more time during Committee Sessions to cover more institutions under their purview to prevent a backlog from building up.
As reported by Hon. Darboe, the committee further tasked that AGD and NAO to ensure that the audited accounts of government for 2020 and 2021 be submitted for review by end of October 2023.
The committee, he said, also tasked the Ministry of Finance (MoFEA) needs to agree on a roadmap and the way forward for migrating from Cash Basis to Accruals accounting system, and the Ministry of Finance and Justice must review Government’s engagement with GAMWORKS by October 2023, to safeguard public interest.
“The National Audit Office must thoroughly probe the writing off in the books of NRA, the value of D19,758,493.90 being advance payment to Copri by NRA. The National Audit Office must take the lead in presenting their annual Activity Reports and audited Financial Statements to FPAC on time. The committee further recommends that the Accounts of 2020 to 2022 must be submitted by December 2023,” said FPAC Chairperson Hon. Darboe.