Department of Finance has congratulated Small & Medium Enterprises Corporation (SMEC) for the establishment of the Audit Committee which was officially launched on 23 September, 2022.
With the launching of SMEC Audit Committee brings the total to 56 Audit Committees launched so far since its establishment in 2005.
First Assistant Secretary Tom Tiki said, the Department of Finance is ensuring that all State agencies receiving public monies must have an audit committee. He further stated that Audit Committee is in placed to strengthen our country’s democracy by enabling oversight, accountability and governance in the public sector through financial reporting, thereby building public confidence.
Deputy Secretary Sam Penias who was there to officiate the launching thanked Internal Audit, stakeholders and the officers responsible for running this program.
He said with this audit program it gives confidence to stakeholders and the people on what we are doing especially in the public service. “The purpose of this committee is not to find fault but to make sure the system and processes within any government organisation works well. And adds value to the service that we provide to people of Papua New Guinea.’’ “We talk about transparency, good governance and accountability but most of all looking at systems and processes to see where there is risk. And so we fix it through the establishment of audit committee.’’ he said. “I want to challenge SMEC to have regular meetings in ensuring that the committee is active and carrying out its responsibilities.
SMEC managing director Petrus Ralda said The internal audit committee will guide us to ensure we do everything right. He said to do the right thing comes down to individual as we owe it to our people occupying public offices. “Every state agency should not only abide by rules, protocols but also to maintain credibility and integrity. And most importantly business ethnics and our obligation to the 8 million people of Papua New Guinea,’’ he said.
The Department is thankful for its stakeholder partner Auditor General Office for being there since the establishment of the committee. And is keen to establish audit committee to all state agencies. Since the establishment of the program in 2005 a total of 56 Audit Committees were established, National Departments-22, Statutory Bodies-18 and PHA-15. Quality and timely submission of the Public Account reports are paramount reflecting compliance and good governance as stipulated in the Public Finance Management Act.
Secretary Ken Ngangan addressed this to the Public Accounts during the quality review meeting of the 2019 Public Accounts in Port Moresby mid this year. Secretary Ngangan said the Public Accounts have deadlines to meet and it must be prepared within that time frame. “Whilst we want to meet deadlines, the reports we compile or submit must be of quality. Quality reflects good governance.” The quality review meeting derived from the recommendation report from the Auditor General’s Office for the 2019 Public Account.
The report identified errors and also noted recommendations for improvements. DoF facilitator Thomasina Ah Ben went through the report with members of the Public Accounts Committee including other concerned divisions of the department. Despite noting issues raised in the report, Ms Ah Ben encouraged the committee to have proper reporting of revenue that must be accurate and be of quality to avoid and or maintain the system process going forward. “The report reflects on what has been done and we must take ownership of areas that needs improvement for a better financial reporting.”
The review was taken to determine the extent to which the departments and agencies are complying with its requirements and the extent to which DoF monitors compliance with set guidelines and Financial instructions. The AGO also recommended the Department must perform its own quality review before submission of the Public Accounts.