Auditor General’s office budget cut by GYD$76 million

Last Updated on Thursday, 7 January 2016, 20:07 by Denis Chabrol

After a heated debated and s series of verbal exchanges on the floor of the National Assembly the Office of the Auditor General received approval for a budget of GYD$714M after requesting a GYD$790M budget.

It was explained that Finance Minister Winston Jordan would have presented the House with an expenditure budget of $714M after the Auditor General would have requested GYD$790M.

Public Accounts Committee Chairman Irfaan Ali condemned the cut in resources saying that it is important that the Constitutional agency receive the funds that it needs to execute its mandate.
“We should not starve the Auditor General’s office of resources that are required to ensure accountability…The agency itself after determining the work it has to do has decided what resources it need to ensure accountability,” said Ali.

He stated that the monies cut were intended to support the accounting of resources that deal with transparency over public spending.

“Mr Chair, I may be crazy but this crazy man will stand up defend the interest of transparency,” he stated.
Meanwhile Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo stated that the government is cutting the budget for the agency but has granted auditing contracts worth over $100M to private contractors.

“We thought financial autonomy meant that once the constitutional agencies had determined their budgets that those budgets would come unaltered to this national assembly and passed unaltered…any attempts to reduced allocations would be seen as politicking,” said Jagdeo.

He said that what is playing out is the deluding of the Audit office in terms of jurisdiction and power by these surreptitious audits.

“So Mr Speaker we have heard so much about corruption and lack of transparency in this country and we thought this government would be interested in putting more money into the audit office,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Vice President Carl Greenidge defended the move saying that it is transparent and goes hand in hand with the law.

“The Leader of he Opposition must not come here and say that the Minister of Finance is changing without transparency…we have arrived at a process where whatever figure is brought to the house is passed by the House.”

Greenidge pointed out that the Minister of finance routinely cuts the request “so dont tell us about transparency – this is transparency,” adding “autonomy can never mean unlimited access to taxpayer funds.”