Premier, deputy governor support auditor's report

Premier Alden McLaughlin and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson issued a statement in support of the auditor general’s Nation Building Fund report Friday.

The statement indicated both men agreed to fully implement the report’s recommendations and to ensure future government programs are managed effectively.

“This audit, which relates to expenditure during the United Democratic Party administration between 2009 and 2013, presents an opportunity for the elected government and the civil service to work together to strengthen the good governance framework over transfer payments and to ensure that future programs can withstand scrutiny,” Premier McLaughlin said.

“Elected officials and civil servants should play separate and distinct roles in delivering government programs. However, given the concerns raised by the Auditor General, it is clear that these roles need to be more clearly defined and enforced.”

Mr. Manderson said, “The civil service takes the concerns raised by the auditor general seriously and I have committed to take the necessary steps to ensure that civil servants comply with [a] new framework, which will mandate that public expenditure transactions and programs meet the four tests of propriety, regularity, value for money and feasibility.”

The auditor general’s review of the Nation Building Fund contained three recommendations: First, that robust management frameworks should be developed around all public projects; second, that responsibilities of elected ministers and civil service managers should be clearly defined; and third, that government should shore up policies around “transfer payments,” such as those made via the Nation Building Fund.

While opining that nation building is a desirable objective for government, Deputy Governor Manderson states in his reponse to the report that it must be managed correctly.

“However well-intentioned such policy aims may be, where there is improper influence or programs are ill-designed … then such aims are destined to failure,” the management response to the audit noted. “This audit presents a real opportunity to improve the governance framework.”