DPM: new accounts system for govt financial reporting in place by next budget
When the 2019/2020 budget year begins on July 1, the government will have “fully transitioned to the new chart of accounts for government financial reporting”, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest said on Friday, adding that the new system will allow the government to be in full compliance with international standards on government finance statistics (GFS).
Turnquest, who was speaking at the 2019 UHY Americas accounting conference at the Atlantis resort, explained to the room of chartered accountants that the government is committed to keeping better account of its use of public funds.
He explained that the chart of accounts for government financial reporting will allow for real-time queries to be made, “which will help to alleviate the issue of a build-up in arrears, which as we’ve seen over the years, can really take a toll on our finances”.
He recalled the compendium of bills passed and drafted by the government to strengthen the country’s fiscal position, prevent the build-up of arrears and plug any leaks of public funds.
“We have also drafted a Public Financial Management Bill (PFM), which will replace, in many ways, the current Financial Administration and Audit Act, 2010,” Turnquest said.
“Essentially, this bill will provide an inclusive legal framework that will offer the necessary support to strengthen the management, oversight and ultimately control of public funds.
“The PFM will clarify the roles and responsibilities of finance officers, prescribe enhanced reporting requirements, specify accountability expectations for government agencies, enhance the adequacy of reporting provisions and provide scope for sanctions for financial misconduct, financial crimes, among other things. We are hoping this bill will be finalized by the end of the year.
“For a small country with relatively young institutions, we took the forward-looking approach to implement the framework with fiscal targets and transform our institutions to meet the demands of the time.”
Turnquest said the government’s transformation agenda will also include public sector reform and modernization.
“As a country, we still have far too many outdated legacy systems in government that need to be upgraded or brought online altogether,” he said.
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