Response to Auditor General’s report by Wednesday

Rather than making a response from “the top of your head”, the Government of Barbados will formally address the issues raised in the latest report by the Auditor General, says Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

During a public address at Ilaro Court on Monday, Mottley said the Director of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ian Carrington, has collected all the responses from the various departments and she anticipates those responses as well as a cover letter will be laid digitally in Parliament by Wednesday August 17, 2022.

The July 5 report identified accounting discrepancies in several areas across the public sector.

“I want to also reinforce in people’s minds and to give the public and the wider public outside of Barbados who may feel that we are doing things that are the subject of corruption or improperly or whatever that this is not a case of this,” she said.

“Barbados moved from a cash to an enclosed  system in title, in name as far back as 2007 under Owen Arthur as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The truth is that we never made that transition. Never. That has been at the source of a lot of the difficulties we see and a lot of the commentary that we also see in the Auditor’s General’s report. Is that the only thing that is wrong? No it isn’t, but that is responsible for a large number of the problems that we have and we have never properly adjusted to accrual accounting.”

Mottley also added that for example, if one was to investigate the National Insurance Scheme’s accounts that have not been filed for years, one would find that at the heart of it from 2014 and years surrounding it, there were some issues pertaining to the accrual system which meant that they could not be properly recorded.

In her opinion the accounting systems in Barbados were not ready for the transition and that the country is now trying to do its best to honour its commitment to moving towards those areas.

“The IMF Programme is not done on the basis of accrual accounting. The IMF Programme is done on the basis of cash accounting because of the difficulties in our system to be able to record all the liabilities and all the issues with respect to that. Now if this was a case of corruption, I would tell you straight off it is corruption we are dealing with and whenever that is the case I will tell you straight off that is what we are dealing with, but this is a case of accounting standards.”(JC)

 

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