By Awa B. Bah
The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Amadou Sanneh, on Monday 12th March 2018, officially tabled the report of the Auditor General on the audited financial statements of Government, for the year ended 31st December 2014 and 31stDecember 2015, before members of the National assembly, in Banjul. The laying of the audited financial statements witnessed the opening of the first ordinary session of the national assembly in the 2018 legislative year.
As a convention, this report once tabled, will allow members to raise and second the motion to move the report to the Finance and Public Accounts Committee of the assembly, for detailed scrutiny on behalf of the national assembly, which will later report back to the general assembly.
In laying the report, he said the financial statements include accounts that are controlled by the Accountant General’s department and do not include Public Enterprises, Local Government and Self-Accounting projects, with the exception funds. This he said, are audited separately by external auditors through the office of the Auditor General. These financial statements he said, comprises of consolidated statements of cash received and payments made, statements of revenue and expenditure, detail revenue and expenditure comparisons, accounting policies and explanatory notes; that the financial statements also contain additional statements as required by section 63 of the Public Finance Act 2014 and Part 2 of the cash bases and The International Public Sector Accounting Standards IPSAS.
The financial statements he said have been prepared in accordance with the legal and regulatory frameworks of the 1997 Constitution, the Public Finance Act of 2014, the Financial Regulations of 2016 and the International Public Sector Accounting Standards. He said there is a strong drive for Government to adopt International best practices as the Government of the Gambia adopted IPSAS as the bases for preparing its financial statements.
The adoption of IPSAS he said, is a necessary element in strengthening the governance framework and enhancing transparency; that this has enabled the settling of appropriate minimum benchmark for discharge of accountability and transparency; that it has also enabled the provision of the framework against which audit is undertaken and allows improve quality and comparability of financial information, reported by the public sector.
Mr. Sanneh said matters arising from the Audit of the financial statements for the years ended 31st December 2014 and 2015 respectively, recommends that his Ministry’s affairs through the AG’s departments, are contained in the management comments section of the management letter of the Auditor General; that additional information and further clarification have also been compiled.
Mr. Sanneh said challenges were encountered during the migration of The Intergrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), in the preparation and audit of the government financial statements; that these challenges have now been overcome and financial statements for the year ended 31stDecember 2016 have already been submitted to the auditor general for audit; that the preparation of the 2017 financial statement is currently underway and is expected to be finalized and the accounts submitted for audit by the end of June 2018. Mr. Sanneh said Government financial statements are been prepared from the IFMIS in accordance with the IPSAS; that due to the inherent performance challenges government encountered in the process of inverting the option of upgrading those systems have already been addressed; that Government is also in the process of enhancing the tax administration, procurement, human resource management and the payroll and asset management systems, amongst other public finance management resource reforms. These activities he said, are aimed to improve the overall quality of the public finance management delivery within Government. He congratulated all the players in the management cycle including the quality oversight function which the national assembly is effectively discharging.