By BRYAN LUVENA
ISABEL has been the star province when it comes to the implementation of the Provincial Governance Strengthening Programme (PGSP).
Under the leadership of Premier James Habu, Isabel landed a “clean audit” report for the 2017/2018 financial year, the first for any province.
“This is an achievement of monumental proportion resulting from the consistent efforts of Premier Habu and his hardworking administration team in Buala,” Stanley Pirione, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, said.
PGSP is a national government funding component given to all the provinces each year to develop their capacity and infrastructure.
Each province is expected to account for the funds and report on how it spends the money at the end of each financial year.
“This is the first time a government agency clinches such an excellent audit report since independence in 1978,” Pirione stated.
He said under Habu’s leadership, Isabel secured qualified audit opinion in 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 and eventually a clean audit report called ‘’unqualified’’ audit opinion, which was declared by the Auditor General.
“This was after the Auditor General satisfied himself that the financial statements and the transactions audited by the audit team did not indicate any material misstatement that would have rendered the statement misleading.
“On the basis of this assurance, the report is unqualified meaning that it is indeed a clean audit report.
“It may not be issue-free but the issues raised are not material enough and poses lesser risks to the public fund management.”
According to Isabel Provincial Secretary John Mark Lokumana, the following contributed to the result they achieved:
1. The Administration holds regular meeting of Heads of Division, at least monthly, to discuss issues relating to performance and internal control systems,
2. The concerns of the Provincial Annual Assessment reports are highlighted.
3. Issues raised in previous audit reports are tabled for long-term solutions to be found to fully address them.
4. The few officers who may have issues affecting their work are called by the Administration to help them to overcome those issues whether work or personal related.
5. The Provincial Administration ensures that it focuses on its core competence in terms of its operations in order to make maximum impact.
6. For the past four years, the Provincial Administration has been on their toes following up staff performance. Officers in Isabel Provincial Government are giving deadline to deliver expected outputs.
7. The Annual Work Plans are output based and monitored with relative ease.
8. Staff salaries and remuneration packages are good.