2016 has been a very productive year for the Department of Finance in delivering tangible results to improve the public financial management system and build robust, transparent and good governance practices to manage public money and public resources for the nation.
The Department of Finance, in partnership with the University of PNG and with assistance from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Managers of England and Wales, has tailored a specialised degree program, the Bachelor of Public Finance and Accountancy.
Public accountants and related practitioners will now have their own dedicated professional association. The Department of Finance has led the establishment of a registered association, the Papua New Guinea Association of Government Accountants & Public Finance Managers (PNG AGA & PFM).
The Papua New Guinea and Australian Departments of Finance signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014 to work more closely and cooperatively in sharing knowledge and building policy and operational skills. As a result in 2015 two officers from the Department had the opportunity to join the annual Department of Finance Australia graduate program.
Many fees and charges to the general public across the nation have not been revised for many years. The Department of Finance worked with other government agencies to review fees and charges and bring them up to date. An Act (Section 209 and 210 of the Constitution and Section 5 and 7 of the Public Finance (Management) Act 1995) was passed on 1 January 2015.
The PFMA was passed unanimously by Parliament on 11 August. We are expecting certification very soon and staff are working on updating the Financial Management Manual to reflect the improvements. These amendments are a result of the extensive work which resulted in the PEFA Reform Road Map 2015-2018 released in September 2015.
The Secretary presented the Department’s work at the annual international PEFA (Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability) conference 26-29 April held in Hungary. This year’s conference, PEFA: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE, provided an overview of the experience and achievements of the PEFA program over the past decade, explained the PEFA 2016 Framework and discussed future opportunities to increase the PEFA program’s contribution to PFM reform.