Audit Chamber hopes to get annual accounts on time

POSTED: 07/20/11 11:43 AM

St. Maarten – The General Audit Chamber has stressed the need for the government to finalize a budget for 2010 that reflects the transition from Island Territory to country and to create a financial administration for the country that begins on October 10, 2010. The comments on this need are found in the body’s annual report for 2010.

Under the chapter Government Finance the Audit Chamber points out that it has not yet been given a budget that reflects the country status for the last two and a half months of 2010. They note that its absence has created challenges for government and governmental institutions. While the body understands that the period was short they believe that provisions are needed so that government can comply with the Public Accounting Act (Comptabeliteitsverordening). Because of this the audit chamber urges the government to implement the recommendations issued by the Council of Advice on December 15.

The Audit Chamber points out that the government had also failed to adapt its financial administration to reflect the country status. If they had done so the financial administration for the Island Territory St. Maarten would have closed off on October 9, 2010 and the financial administration for the country would have started on October 10, 2010. The lack of a change means there is no distinct administration and that country related transactions were recorded in the island territory administration.

“There is therefore no distinction between the two financial administrations, thus making control and auditing extremely challenging,” the audit chamber’s report states.

In order to create the distinction the audit chamber advises government to do a project where it closes off the records of the Island Territory as of October 10, 2010. At the same time the body urges government to ensure that its financial administration in 2011 fully complies with the law and reflects the country situation.

“The importance of having proper financial administration for a full fiscal year in 2011 is critical. This project should start by mid-year 2011 rather than allowing the issue to persist. The consequences of not addressing the deficiencies of the financial administration will impact the ability of government to produce an annual account as is required by law. Hence a solution must be found sooner rather than later,” the audit chamber states in its report.

Government must submit its annual accounts for 2010 by September 1, and the audit chamber is hoping they’ll meet the deadline despite the challenges, which also includes the fact that the 2011 budget was not finalized by the end of 2010.

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