Gov’t to ensure accuracy in public financial statements

Thursday, May 28, 2009
Issue 715, Page 2
Word count: 437
Published in: Macau Daily Times

Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen said he was committed to revise the public financial management system as soon as possible in order to avoid mistakes in the public accounts again.

The Legislative Assembly unanimously approved the opinion report made by the First Standing Committee on the 2007 Budget Performance Report submitted by the government in March.

According to the 2007 Annual Audit Report for the Public Accounts having been handed in at the same time, the Audit Commission (CA) for the first time gave a “reserved comment” to the Consolidated Financial Statements in the 2007 Budget Performance Report.

The comment was a result of the major mistakes amounting to over 100 billion patacas in the financial statements.

Audit Commissioner Fatima Choi Mei Lei said during the first reading of the budget performance report on March 19 that the mistakes were caused by changes in the public financial system that came into effect on January 1, 2007.

The 6/2006 administrative regulation required self-government institutions, such as the Monetary Authority, Postal Savings Office and the Pensions Fund, to record their “specific financial activities” based on the public accounting system (single entry bookkeeping) instead of the accrual accounting system.

The First Standing Committee thus in its report suggested the government to revise the 6/2006 administrative regulation on the public financial management system.

The CA also said that severe mistakes could happen again in the future Consolidated Financial Statements if the system remains.

Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen in yesterday’s plenary meeting said he agreed with the lawmakers and as such self-government institutions could then use a bookkeeping system which is most suitable for them – that is the accrual accounting system.

On the other hand, the First Standing Committee’s report revealed that at the end of 2007 the treasury consolidated account registered a surplus of 64.7 billion patacas, accounting for 43 percent of the GDP in that year.

However, by adding the 8.5 billion pataca surplus of the self-government institutions, the SAR government should have accumulated a total of 73.2 billion patacas as of the end of 2007, lawmaker Ieong Tou Hong pointed out.

As well, plus the 25 billion pataca reserve logged in 2008, Ieong said the government should have more than 98 billion patacas in excess by the end of last year.

The lawmaker said this significant amount of government surplus once again called for the emergence of a central reserve system, in order to “better manage the money, make investments on value-added activities and also allocate resources to benefit society in a systematic way”.

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