Year 2000 govt accounts presented to Speaker
Stabroek News
May 3, 2002

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The audited report of the accounts of ministries, regions and government departments for the year 2000 was yesterday presented to Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran, at what was described as a historic occasion.

This is the first time that the audited report has been presented directly to Parliament since the constitutional amendment of August 2000 providing for that change. Previously it had been presented to the minister of finance who would them table it in the assembly.

Making the presentation to Ramkarran, Auditor General Anand Goolsarran said that the present accounting system needed to be reformed in the context of advances in Information Technology and the availability of human resources.

He however refused to be drawn on the deficiencies noticed in the accounts especially those where recommendations had been made to correct these in previous audit reports.

He recalled that the amendment responsible for the change in presentation of the audited report was based on recommendations from the donor community, which had been critical of the old method. There had been a feeling that the audit office should report directly to Parliament instead of transmitting its report through the Ministry of Finance.

Accepting the report, the Speaker made the promise that parliament would diligently do its duty in scrutinising it and noting the recommendations and shortcomings highlighted.

He saw the occasion as one which will be viewed as helping to strengthen the work of the Auditor General's Department while ensuring its continued independence.

Questioned on when the report would be presented to the assembly, Ramkarran said it was hoped that it could engage the legislative body's attention by next week once the situation with Parliament's electricity supply was rectified.

The power supply to the National Assembly was disrupted last week Friday when its electrical control room caught fire resulting in extensive damage to the building's main electrical circuits. Repairs are currently being undertaken to the control room.

Goolsarran, responding to a question, said the delay in the presentation of the 2000 report was as a result of several factors, principally, the national election last year March, continued understaffing and delays in the submission of ministries' accounts. The report was originally due by September 2001.