Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, says he is on a mission to root-out all forms of corruption from all agencies and authorities associated with his Ministry.
He noted that even “the very perception” of corruption must be eliminated from the Ministry.
Mr. Arscott, who was making his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 26), said it is also his intention to enhance the capacity of Local Public Accounts Committees, whose roles will be included in the Local Governance Financing Act.
“As a continuous strategic action of the Ministry, we are assessing and managing risks. We will be using the recently completed Pricewaterhouse Coopers study to assess and strengthen the procedures and personnel in our local authorities and strengthen the role of the Local Public Accounts Committees,” he disclosed.
Mr. Arscott told Parliament that there have been a number of gains made by his Ministry in the areas of transparency and accountability.
He said this is evident in the reduced audit queries and findings from audit reports, which have resulted in fewer appearances before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Mr. Arscott also noted that there has been increased compliance with procurement and other financial and accounting procedures, while more parish councils are receiving favourable grades based on results of assessments carried out by the Office of the Contractor General.
He noted however, that while these gains have been made, there is a need to increase transparency in the operations of the local authorities and agencies of the Ministry.
“This administration deems this of paramount importance. We will be working closely with the local authorities and agencies to post contract awards on their websites so that not only the Ministry can monitor the implementation, but citizens in the various communities, to ensure that we receive undisputable value for money,” the Minister stated.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter