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  • Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says he has been in dialogue with Auditor General, Pamela Monroe Ellis, regarding the development of a project to address the backlog.
  • Dr. Clarke explained that the AG’s Department is, by law, responsible for auditing public bodies whose resources are allocated from the Government’s Consolidated Fund.   
  • He said the current procedure to generate the reports incurred “substantial delays,” adding that the 90-day timeline “[is] not going to happen until the ratio of accountants approaches [the notable levels existing in other countries].”

The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service is looking to provide the Auditor General’s (AG) Department with resources to conduct outstanding audits of State entities lagging in the submission of annual reports to Parliament.

Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says he has been in dialogue with Auditor General, Pamela Monroe Ellis, regarding the development of a project to address the backlog.

He was speaking during a European Union-Government of Jamaica (EU-GOJ) virtual town hall discussion, on Friday (July 16), which focused on Justice and Public Financial Reform Programmes.

Dr. Clarke said based on information received, it would take the AG’s Department approximately three years to clear the backlog of audits at the entities for which it has responsibility, to facilitate preparation of the reports.

He cited “capacity constraints” as the primary factor resulting in the backlogs, adding that “the only way out of it is to projectise it.”

Dr. Clarke explained that the AG’s Department is, by law, responsible for auditing public bodies whose resources are allocated from the Government’s Consolidated Fund.

He added that entities whose budgetary/fiscal allocations are derived from a mixed composition of sources “tend to have an external auditor.”

The Minister said with respect to entities with backlogs that are audited by external agencies, “the only solution there is going to really be, sustainably, is to continue with public sector reform and reduce the number of public bodies that we have.”

“We just don’t have enough accountants to be going around having 140 public bodies, 17 Ministries and 100 Departments audited every [year]… it’s not sustainable. So public sector reform needs to be [the focus],” he added.

Dr. Clarke also cited the need to revisit the 90-day timeline in the Public Bodies Management Act for preparations culminating in State entities’ submission of annual reports, noting that this duration was “not practical for Jamaica today.”

He said the current procedure to generate the reports incurred “substantial delays,” adding that the 90-day timeline “[is] not going to happen until the ratio of accountants approaches [the notable levels existing in other countries].”

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