Use unspent funds, provinces told

National, Normal

The National, Monday June 24th, 2013

 PROVINCES in the Islands region have been urged to use their rolled-over funds while waiting for their budgets to be implemented at the beginning of the implementation year.

Department of Treasury’s assistant secretary for budgets Ruth Veapi told officers from the provinces in Kokopo recently that the delay in the implementation of the budgets at the beginning of the year should not be an excuse because the intention of the rolled-over funds from the previous year to the following year could be justified.  

Participants at the New Guinea Islands region workshop on June 19 were told that while waiting for their budgets to be approved, most provinces had huge unspent grants rolled over to the following year that can be accessed and spent on basic services.

Veapi said she saw no reason why provinces were not using those funds. 

Veapi told the workshop there was no reason why provinces should not be using the funds rolled over from the previous year to fund the service delivery obligations while waiting for their budgets to be appropriated.

She said all provinces should be aware of the budget requirements, including timelines, and to use the excuse of late warrant release was not good enough.  

“Many provinces have huge amounts of rolled-over funds sitting in their accounts which they can access and spend when the funding is not yet released,” she said.

Veapi said the onus was on them to ensure their budgets were properly documented and met all requirements before submitting it to the Treasury Department.  

“This will make it easier for Treasury to process the budgets on time. If they do not then this will create more work for treasury and will result in untimely release and spending of funding,” Veapi said.

“Unfortunately, this affects effective and efficient service delivery to the rural people.”

Veapi was responding to concerns raised by provinces about the rollover of unspent grants and delays in the release of warrants.