Wednesday 30 September, 2020

Gov't moves to address issues at State enterprises

Government has adopted a zero tolerance approach to late and deficient reporting at State enterprises.

This was revealed by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at a briefing at the Diplomatic Centre on Wednesday, as he expressed concern that the sector is rife with poor management and financial scandals.

During a two-day retreat, government took a decision that issues within the sector would not be allowed to continue.

He stated that government intends to pay better attention to the management of the State enterprise sector, particularly as the country was simply not in a position to have huge leaks in funding due in part to “inappropriate management” in some aspects of the State enterprises.

Rowley noted that financial reporting at these entities is not being done as it should be, and late or deficient reporting has become the accepted state of affairs both by those for whom the report is intended and those who are required to produce the report.

“As it stands now, even at the level of the Cabinet in many instances, we are informed of what goes on or what went on in a State enterprise when the media reports largely of something on wrongdoing or something of scandal. That is not how we run this very large part of our economy or this very large part of the State’s portfolio.”

To address this issue, the Prime Minister said the Finance Minister would issue a “very firm and clear” circular memorandum to all State enterprise managers and their boards informing them that annual financial reports, in whatever state they exist, would be due by March 31.

“Whatever the report contains, that report must be known to the Corporation Sole soon after the financial year.”

“If we are to improve the management of the State enterprise sector, and ameliorate and in fact, eliminate the levels of unacceptable conduct in the State enterprise sector, we start with the circular memorandum where managers who are required to manage are also to report because those who are required to monitor the activities of these agencies cannot do so in the absence of timely reporting from these agencies.”

Rowley made it clear that the absence of a report on the basis that it is not an audited financial statement will not be tolerated and failure to comply with this directive would have serious consequences.


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