Editorial: Compassionately undisciplined

POSTED: 10/26/11 11:33 AM

Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Cornelius has proven that the government is compassionately undisciplined with public funds by stating he’s been allowed to spend nearly 4 million guilders more than he’d budgeted on medical aid alone. This development is interesting some ways that the space allotted does not allow to explore all the intricacies.

The revelation can prompt at least two reactions. On one hand he can be applauded for ensuring that no matter what those who need medical assistance, get it. Because let’s be honest one does not want to think that one of their family members of friends in genuine need are not able to get the aid because of budget constraints. So good on the minister and the cabinet for that.

However by being compassionate the government creates an accounting bottleneck for itself, because obviously money for something else was used to cover these additional costs. That money will have to continue as the year still has two months left in it and there will no doubt be more expense. It will be interesting to see at the end of the year, how much extra the government had to spend and what was sacrificed to do so.

It must also be noted here that we have proof that the government has yet to come to a real understanding of the cost of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor. The Board of financial supervision (Cft) had recommended of this ministry and others a year ago. We know that the study was commissioned, but there’s no indication of whether government has been able to use it as a planning tool, or if there was not sufficient clarity.

The end point is that government must get better at planning its expenses, so we don’t get these types of cost overruns. Because today we hear about overspending from one minister, but how long before we hear it from others?

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