A new Internal Audit Department will be set up next year as Government seeks to enhance transparency, accountability and good governance in relation to its financial affairs.
Director of Finance and Economic Affairs Ian Carrington announced this in the Ministry of Finance’s responses to the Auditor General’s 2021 report.
He said in the 64-page report that provision was made, with the passing of the Public Finance Management Act in 2019, for the establishment of a department “that would enhance transparency, accountability and good governance with respect to the utilisation of the people of Barbados’ resources”.
“Although this has not been done to date, as much of the national focus has been on the COVID-19 pandemic and other external shocks, it is our intention that this be done within the next fiscal year, 2023-2024,” he said.
“The Internal Audit Department will also serve to ensure that Government’s financial systems are sound and that its reporting is up to date and timely with a view to enhancing the public confidence in the management of their financial affairs,” he explained.
Carrington told Parliament that in the interest of transparency, accountability and good governance, the Ministry of Finance compiled and updated responses to all of the issues raised in the Auditor General’s latest report.
He noted that in doing so, “it was determined, based on the Auditor General’s queries and the responses of ministries and departments, that many of the issues highlighted in the report could have been settled in a timelier and less conspicuous manner if the channels for communication and interaction between the Audit Office and officers in the respective ministries and departments had been more vigorously used”.
However, Carrington said that “having undertaken a most thorough review of the queries raised by the Auditor General in his latest report, many of our ministries and departments must be assisted in ensuring greater observance of the highest accounting standards”.
“This is not because of any specific or overwhelming suspicions of dishonesty on the part of public officers, but in the interest of eliminating reporting errors and omissions, too many of which were highlighted in the report and confirmed in our review,” he said. (SC)