Fri 6th Dec 2013

Manipulating the accounts - ULP regime abuse of power

Section 75, subsection 2, of the 1979 Constitution of SVG (Cap 2 laws of SVG) requires the Director of Audit at least once in every year to audit and report on the public accounts of SVG.

According to a Director of Audit report, there were several instances where expenditure relating to the previous financial year was deferred to the current financial year. This practice has implications for effective management of expenditure since these amounts are not provided in the budget estimates of the financial year in which payment is actually made.

The significance of this, is that in a certain year the ULP regime are understating their expenditure and then carry it forward for the following year to give an impression of economic growth. This is done to try to fool the people that there is a break in a long period of negative growth, by inserting a year with positive growth.

The Leader of SVG Green Party, Mr Ivan O'Neal, is a university graduate in finance from Oxford Brookes University, England and fully agrees with the statement by the Director of Audit report, that effective management is virtually impossible when there are so many instances of manipulation of the accounting system.

At the time of this report, the government used the SMARTSTREAM accounting programme. The Funds Exception module in the SMARTSTREAM Accounting programme is a control mechanism used to prevent excess spending on object codes and programmes by Accounting Officers.

However, according to a Director of Audit report, it appears that this control was overwritten to allow for excess spending on programmes where there were insufficient funds. The report says accounting officers should ensure that funds are available before making commitments and be good stewards in the administering of their programmes.

This is yet another example of manipulation of the accounts by the ULP regime. We ask the minister of finance what is going on? Why can't the ULP regime be good stewards in administering public finances?

The manipulation of the accounts is an attempt to fool the people. In a certain year, the manipulation of public debt was so huge that the Treasury Accounts reflected public debt as only being $187,727,750.00, when in fact the audit showed that public debt was a massive $772,879,366.50. The ULP regime understated debt by over 585 million dollars.

This manipulation by the ULP regime is an abuse of power. Our people deserve accountability and transparency. We need a change of government.

Another example of manipulating the financial system was the overspending in 2007 by $63 million without parliamentary approval using Special Warrants, and then using Supplementary Estimates in 2008 to seek approval for the spending after it was already spent.

Special Warrants should only be used in emergencies for unforeseen expenditures in cases such as hurricanes, for example.

Only a Green Government can competently manage SVG's finances. A Green government will bring transparency and end the manipulation of the accounts of public finances. SVG needs a change of government. Our country deserves a government that will not fool the people in the management of SVG public finances.

Vote Green - we can deliver economic growth and create jobs and revenue.

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