Dept suggests BPNG to hold trust accounts

National, Normal

The National, Monday 13th May 2013

 THE Treasury Department has suggested that transactions to all government funds held in the primary trust accounts be made at the Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) instead of commercial banks. 

Treasury secretary Simon Tosali told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last Friday that the district support improvement programme (DSIP) funds and infrastructure grants were held in commercial banks as it was easier for MPs to withdraw their funds in cash. 

“We try our best to lock up the funds but pressure from the people executing their plans (and projects) want funds to be released to commercial banks,” he said.

Tosali said that DSIP funds should be deposited at the central bank and cheques written for the 89 districts would go straight to the commercial banks. 

He made these remarks when responding to questions by PAC chairman John Hickey on the relations between Treasury Department and BPNG.

He told the committee that BPNG was one of the department’s important stakeholders as they both discussed the country’s economic status on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, a report by the auditor-general (AG) on Treasury in 2009 found that the department did not prepare bank reconciliations on a monthly basis as required or submitted to the Department of Finance and the statements were seven months in arrears. 

Other findings included assets worth K2.5 million were not entered in a new fixed asset software, there had been no stock take, there were defects in procurement and payment processes, defects in human resource management, the advances registrar was not produced to the AG, payments in advance were charged to wrong votes and no reply to the AG at time of writing the audit report. 

Tosali told the committee that he would be responding to the findings in writing.

He explained that since the separation of treasury from finance, it took them a while to gather all their resources and they were in the process of establishing an internal audit committee to look into those outstanding matters.