February 2 | The National
Billions of Kina in service improvement programmed funds spent since 2008 remain unaudited.
Of the 22 provinces and, 89 districts and 319 local level government, only six audits have been completed into SIP funding for the years 2017 to 2022 according to a brief from the Auditor General.
At K10 million per district for the 89 districts, and K5 million per district, per province for the 22 provinces, the total costs to the nation across 15 years to 2023 would be K20.025 billion.
That excludes LLGSIP and assumes that all the SIP monies were religiously appropriated each year.
Prime Minister James Marape said the DSIP would double this year to K20 million per district.
The numbers of districts have also increased from 89 to 96 this year and will further increase to 113 by 2027 as per the new boundaries’ distribution.
Auditor General, Gordon B Kega said in a brief that 439 individual agencies had not had their accounts audited from 2017 to 2022.
Audits have been conducted of only six provincial and districts service improvement programmed for the same period.
Forty-nine district were audited from 2008 to 2013 and reported to Parliament in 2009 and 2012/2013, the Auditor General said.
It is now highly likely that the remaining audits for the financial years prior to 2016 will not be audited. The AG's media brief states; " Audit for the prior years to 2016 are regarded as problematic and are considered for dispensation."
Dispensation powers are accorded the Auditor General under the Audit Act 1989. Section of the Act states in part "(1) Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this Part, the Auditor General may-
a) in his discretion, dispense with all or any part of the detailed audit of any accounts..."
Kega's brief to the media cites manpower and financial resources as the two factors contributing to lack of capacity to carry out audit to all agencies.
The provincial and Local Level government Audit Division responsible for the sub-nation audits including the SIP audits had a current staff strength of 26 audits staff. OF these, 9 are assigned to audit 437 SIP agencies. "The impact of insufficient budget appropriation over the years for the AOG as a Constitutional Office cannot be overstressed," Kega Said.
Audits are not carried out into not more than 319 local level government, both rural and urban, as they are considered " uneconomical" in view of insufficient SIP budget appropriation to the AG coupled with geographical remoteness and lesser grant appropriation of K500 000 to each LLG.
The AGO is mandated by the Audit Account to audit all grants and other development funds appropriated to provinces, districts and LLG.
Kega said despite the problems of capacity besetting his office, he would push on with auditing subnational agencies.
The service improvement funds were introduced in 2007 with the allocation o K10 million to each 89 districts and K500 000 to the 319 LLGs.
Later a Provincial SIP was introduced with a K5 million per district per province.
The DSIP was further increased to K20 per district as of 2024, the AG said.
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