JIS News

Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Collin Bullock, has said that systematic and disciplined management and monitoring of public funds was not only urgent but fundamental, if the programmed fiscal balance for 2005/06 and eventually regaining fiscal surpass, was to be realized.
Mr. Bullock who was addressing the Government of Jamaica Internal Auditors Symposium 2005 held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston yesterday, pointed out that limited resources constrained the government’s ability to finance all the desired programmes and projects due principally to the heavy debt servicing burden, which is a statutory obligation that must be given priority over all other expenditures.
“Thus the role of the government auditor in promoting probity and efficient management of public money and property, as well as assessing whether or not the performance of public entities is in accordance with core governance principles cannot be over emphasized,” he told the auditors.
Mr. Bullock noted that as the country sought to overcome the challenges that would inevitably emerge in a changing environment and tried to strengthen public sector management and accountability, there were certain basic indicators that internal auditors should treat as priorities at all times.
These, he said, should include ensuring that there is strict compliance with the Financial Administration and Audit (FAA) Act, the Public Bodies Management and Accountability (PBMA) Act and other relevant Jamaican laws, regulations and guidelines, as well as adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and internationally accepted audited standards.
He also encouraged the auditors to establish appropriate internal control systems, procedures and other mechanisms for accountability, while exercising vigilance to identify shortcomings and make recommendations for improvement, where necessary. “In this regard we must remember that accountability begins with individuals and involves clear roles and responsibilities, clear performance objectives and expectations, as well as performance guidelines that are balanced with the skills, resources and authority of the parties involved,” Mr. Bullock informed.
He also stressed the importance of internal auditors promoting measures that enhance cost effectiveness, productivity and good risk management, thus ensuring that public services represent value for money. This, he said, was in addition to endeavouring at all times to protect and enhance the public interest and to uphold proper standards of conduct which would ensure that breaches were reported and corrected.
The Financial Secretary also encouraged continuous, open communication flow with executive management, as well as with Audit Committees and or External Auditors, where applicable to ensure reporting of credible and timely information.
He also used the opportunity to reiterate that internal auditing and effective financial management played critical roles in public administration. “We in the public sector are constantly being challenged by lenders, investors, taxpayers, other stakeholders and the public at large to operate with the highest level of accountability,” he said.