Accounts committee highlights reduction in issues

The Ministry of Education team led by the deputy secretary Timoci Bure (third from left) and director finance Donish Lal (right) during the presentation yesterday. Picture: MANASA KALOUNIVITI

THE Ministry of Education’s director finance, Donish Lal, says the ministry has generally improved in terms of the financial management practices adopted within the ministry in the 2016 financial year. Mr Lal made the comment when the ministry team, led by deputy secretary primary and secondary education Timoci Bure, presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the Auditor-General’s (OAG) 2016 Audit Report yesterday.

He highlighted that this improvement was supported by the reduction in the audit findings raised by the OAG over the past three years’ audits.

“You will note that in the 2014 audit 24 issues were raised by the OAG, in 2015 there were 19 issues raised and for 2016 it has gone down to six issues. “This generally provides an indication of the progress the ministry has made and I would like to acknowledge the PAC, the support from the OAG and Ministry of Economy in working together to rectify issues and improve our processes and it’s a testament to the 2016 reduced audit findings,” Mr Lal said.

Opposition PAC member Aseri Radrodro then asked the OAG: “The ministry’s audit findings have reduced in numbers over the years; in 2016, has there been an improvement in the overall operations of the ministry or is it because the financial year was reduced from twelve to seven months during the year.”

The OAG representative said in 2016 there was an overall improvement across the ministry. “But a factor also, as mentioned by Mr Radrodro, could be the reduction in the year to seven months; but the challenge for the ministry is to sustain the reduction in the numbers of audit issues raised.

“We should be able to provide an update after the current audit,” he said.

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