PHILIPSBURG–“While we recognize that no situation is ideal, we are becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of urgency in addressing the deficiencies within the public sector, and specifically public finance,” the General Audit Chamber states in its 2016 Annual Report issued this week. The Audit Chamber added that it has not detected noteworthy improvement by Government. “While plans to address weaknesses or deficiencies are drafted by Government, the implementation is found wanting,” the Audit Chamber said. In 2016, the Audit Chamber said it was forced to deal with a worrisome phenomenon; one that the institution hopes will not become standard practice. The annual report states that there was a lack of cooperation and/or refusal to provide adequate information to the Audit Chamber during two separate audits in 2016.
The report also provides more details about this situation by stating: “Our requests for information were either ignored or the provision of documentation was delayed, inadequate, or both.”
Given that the job of the institution is researching and identifying the areas where change is needed, the Audit Chamber cautioned that when attempts are made, deliberate or otherwise, to constrain its ability to conduct tasks, the system of checks and balances of the country is disrupted.
“There is more at stake than an audit; without proper oversight, our system of democratic government can become compromised and the public trust will weaken,” the Chamber said.
The Audit Chamber is, however, hopeful about the future. “The challenges of the public sector are not insurmountable,” according to the institution. However, a concentrated effort must be made by government and Parliament to address the challenges.
The annual report includes a review of the significant information arising from audits conducted in 2016. The Audit Chamber also provides a description of its operations and gives account for the use of its budget of fiscal year 2016.
In the report, the Audit Chamber provides summaries of all the executed audits over the year and expresses concern about the progress within Government in terms of improving shortcomings that have been identified.
By law, the Audit Chamber must present a report of its activities about the preceding year to both the Governor and Parliament prior to July 1 each year. Each Member of Parliament (MP) received a copy of the Annual Report 2016 in the Dutch and English language on Monday.
Audit Chamber Chairman Ronald Halman presented Governor Eugene Holiday with copies of the annual report on Thursday.
The report is published in both English and Dutch and is available on the website of the Audit Chamber www.arsxm.org.