In National Assembly PAC/PEC Meeting Updated Public

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Accounts Committee Report Adopted

In pursuance of the powers bestowed on them by the provisions of section C102, C109 and C110 of the 1997 constitution, the PAC/PEC committee of the National Assembly yesterday received and adopted an updated report of the PAC on the Auditor General’s report on the accounts of the government of The Gambia from July 1992 to December 1999.

The report, which follows a submission to the National Assembly in October 2005 of the Auditor General’s report on the government of The Gambia for the period July 1992 to December 1999, highlighted issues on the backlog of accounts, imbalances of over D800 million accumulating from 1992 – 1999, non-settlement of bills by government to quasi government and service providers and the non-conformity of the Accountant General to the statutory report format and level of disclosure of financial statements of government.

In coming up with its findings, opinions and recommendations, the Public Accounts Committee report considered the issues, queries and observations of the Auditor General’s report along with the testimonies of the witnesses on the issues and queries raised.

In response to some of the concerns raised, according to the report, the strengthening of the treasury directorate became a priority for the Department of State of Finance and Economic Affairs even before the completion of the audited accounts 1992 – 1999 during 2005.

According to the report the main reason that the accounts of the period became a priority resulted from the growing global concern for public financial governance in the developing world.

According to Mr. Abdou Touray, Permanent Secretary at the Department of State for Finance and Economic Affairs, his department is currently implementing a DFID-funded financial governance project which provides support to non-AFMIS financial management functions of government.  The main beneficiaries include the National Audit office, the Treasury Directorate and the Internal Audit Unit of DOSFEA.

On the backlog of accounts, the report revealed that significant progress has been made in completing the 2005 and 2006 accounts for submission to the Auditor General by end July 2007, well ahead of the target date in the PRSP.

“Government has drawn up an agreement with the public enterprises to pay back what is owed to the Public enterprises over a period of time,” the report disclosed.

Similarly, a schedule is being finalized at the level of The Gambia Divestiture Agency (GDA) for the public enterprises to meet their debt obligations to government.

However, on the concerns raised about the imbalance of over D800 million, the report revealed that the historic balance is as a result of several years of accumulated opening balances of the public accounts. This is largely due to missing documents at the treasury during the times the accounts were in operation. Some of the missing documents were attributed to the practice of handing over documentation during the Commissions of Enquires.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that the principal objective of the PAC/PEC meeting is to perform lawful checks, scrutiny and oversights over Public Enterprises and Agencies and the public service delivery system, with a view to ensuring that the government of The Gambia and its public service delivery system, institutions, enterprises and agencies are all collectively, jointly and severally accountable to The Gambian people.

Author: By Baboucarr Senghore & Abba A.S. Gibba
Source: The Point