MEMBER of Parliament for Small Malaita and current chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Rick Hou had urged Government to stop allocating funds meet costs of unforeseen or unplanned events.
Mr Hou said this during parliamentary debate of the Supplementary Appropriation bill 2015 passed last Thursday.
He said during scrutiny by the Public Accounts Committee, it had revealed instances of poor and erroneous planning thus creating budgetary shortfalls which would require additional expenditure of $2.8 million for the Melanesian Spearhead Group Leadership Summit,$11.6million in ex gratia payments to border patrol officers during the Bougainville crisis and $3.7 million for attendance at the Pacific Games held in PNG.
Mr Hou said the Minister of Finance should have been fully aware of major events as such well in advance to make budgetary provisions meet costs, thus it is no good excuse to blame such error as unforeseen .
He said for unknown reasons the budget unit of the Ministry of Finance had seen fit to cut Ministerial budgetary estimates focused in their submissions in the 2015 budget thus creating the shortfalls which have to be provided for under the Supplementary Appropriation bill 2015.
Mr Hou warned that the Ministry of Finance and Treasury must stop treating the budgetary process as a cash management tool.
He said it must formulate its budgetary forecasts in a transparent way taking into account practical cost estimates of government annual service programs.
“You do not need reminding but such poor practices undermine the integrity of the budget process as envisaged under the Public Finance and Management Act 2013,” he said/
By ELLIOT DAWEA