Business News

Government Accounts Open

Given the country’s challenging economic climate, greater responsibilities will be given to the Departments of Finance, and Rural Developments to ensure that state funds are being spent wisely.

This was announced by Finance Minister Renbo Paita, when announcing the opening of Government Accounts for the 2020 Financial Year.

The Minister for Finance and his Department Secretary called a media conference today, to announce the opening of Government Accounts for the 2020 Financial Year.

This now allows for funds to be drawn down by State Agencies, and Provincial, and District Governments, to begin implementation of programs for this year.

The shutdown period from 2019 to 2020 being one of the shortest yet – in line with efforts by the Department of Finance to improve its performance, especially in recent years.

Dr Ken Ngangan says previously accounts opening took place in March.

“…something which over the last five years we have changed , we’ve brought accounts close in March much closer to the opening of the government work and this year has even got better we’ve now opened the government accounts on the 6th of January 2020.

Treasury will now issue the warrants to the government agencies and the provinces so government business should be starting to happen ….should have started this week so there’s no excuse for public servants to delay in coming to work because as soon as treasury issues warrants, accounts are already open the funds should start flowing into provinces and districts and public servants should start to flow.”

Also announce today was a decision made to allow government cheques printed in 2019 to be honoured – with Secretary Ngangan announcing a directive to commercial banks.

“We have now relaxed that, so cheques written in 2019 can continue to be presented in 2020, I’ve now signed off a circular to all the banks, commercial banks not to reject the 2019 cheques those will continue. We will be releasing those cheques as and when cash flow warrants us to do that.”

In line with efforts to improve the performance of departments under his responsibility, Finance & Rural Development Minister Renbo Paita also explained measures taken to improve the level of monitoring of funding at the national, provincial, and district level – this he says is all part of continually improving transparency and accountability of government accounts.

“One other aspect that we brought on board was through the BRD we set aside some funding through the budget to monitor the actual funds that we are giving to provinces and districts to actually see. And I think finance has that which when we have district treasuries established throughout the 89 districts and the provinces. So we (are) in a better position to monitor and audit those funds that actually (are) going to districts.”

Furthermore, the Department of Finance has also been given added responsibility, with a recent determination for this department to now oversee the implementation of the “Public Private Partnership Act” – a challenge that the Minister is confident of meeting over the next 12 months.

“This is going to be an ambitious year for us as a department and I look forward to driving the department I’m sure that I will get the support from all my staff including BRD to be a working support. also I’m happy to announce that the public-private partnership act has been transferred to me as finance minister and so that will be something that we will see to set up the administrative framework over the legislation which has been deferred to me by (the) Prime Minister in one of his determinations.”

By Meriba Tulo, EMTV News, Port Moresby

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