Finance Dept invests in human resource

The National, Friday July 15th, 2016

NINE officers from the Finance department have graduated with the Bachelor of Public Finance and Accountancy degree from the University of PNG.
The nine included deputy secretary Samuel Penias plus assistant secretaries Keith Dihm and Gabi Kila.
The two-year degree programme initially accepted officers from the departments of finance and national planning.
It has been expanded to include finance and accounting officers from other government departments and agencies.
The man behind the initiative is Finance secretary Dr Ken Ngangan who himself holds a doctorate in accounting and had served as a lecturer at UPNG before being appointed to his current post.
His goal is to make all public sector accountants acquire degrees, including by those serving in the provinces and districts.
Ngangan said skilled and competent public finance managers were needed in the public sector to properly manage public funds.
“There is a lack of trained and qualified public finance management practitioners to manage the public finance of the country,” he said.
“The commission of inquiry into the department of finance made reference to this critical shortage.
“To address this need, the department in partnership with the University of PNG, and with assistance from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, tailored this specialised degree programme.”
He said reports from the Auditor-General, Public Accounts Committee, Commission of Inquiry into the department and internal audits in the provinces, districts, departments and agencies, all pointed to weak financial management practices in Government agencies.
“Lack of sufficient financial management and accounting skills and competencies by staff entrusted with financial management functions has been identified as a major contributor to poor financial management in the public sector,” Ngangan said.
“Continuous training and development of staff are vital to the successful discharge of the department’s mandate to provide financial policy advice and guide and supervise the financial management of public resources at all levels of government.
“There is a need to create a critical mass of staff at all levels who are well qualified and competent to carry out the financial management responsibilities to the highest standards in the workforce.
“The responsibility of ensuring staff have the required skills to carry out this mandate across the public sector rest with the Finance department.
“And where the competencies fall short of expectation, the department has the obligation to intervene, as it is doing through this degree programme.”
The programme takes into account years of practical experience working in public financial management.
The main objective of the programme is to provide students with a working knowledge of financial management techniques that are relevant to public sector financial operations.
The academic training will be facilitated through the recently established PNG Association of Government Accountants and Public Financial Managers.
The association represents and supports more than 3000 public finance management practitioners who work in government departments, provincial governments and districts and local-level governments.
Its networking events, professional certifications, publications and ongoing educational programs that will equip members with the  right set of skills and increase their capacity to advance their careers.