Acting Auditor General says that Government needs to collect revenues more efficiently
A report made public by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) today identified areas where Government should do more to be efficient in the collection of its revenues. In addition, the report highlights significant problems with how government officials are administering revenue waivers.
“Our audit found that Government is generally doing a good job of collecting the revenues it is mandated to collect,” said Garnet Harrison, the Acting Auditor General, “however, we found that there are many opportunities being missed to save money by doing the job more efficiently.”
The report, “Collecting Government Revenues,” describes several areas where more efficient processes and better controls would ensure that Government is putting all of the revenues in the bank it is supposed to be collecting. The audit found that Ministries do not work together to collect revenue in the most cost effective manner. The report notes that one only has to go as far as the government lobby with its multitude of wickets to see some of the inefficiencies.
One significant weakness found by the auditors was in how revenue waivers are being managed. As a result of poor procedures, poor controls and poor record keeping, the auditors were unable to determine how much revenue Government agreed not to collect for at least the last five years. By not keeping track of revenues forgiven, there has been no transparency or accountability for the decisions made by government officials and politicians. Furthermore, this information is required for Government to prepare its financial statements.
“Government officials have not been acting in accordance with the Public Management and Finance Law”, said the acting Auditor General. “I am appalled by the lack of proper record keeping in the Ministry of Finance for this important role. No one knows how much public money has been lost to the public purse or if government officials and politicians have acted improperly by forgiving certain revenues. No one will ever know”.
The report includes seven recommendations that the Government has generally agreed to implement.