Senior Opposition legislator Julian Fraser has called for the House of Assembly to establish a new committee that will hold government departments accountable for carrying out projects for which they’ve received budgetary allocations.
The board Fraser is suggesting is called a Public Accounting and Appropriations Committee (PAAC). It would be tasked with monitoring spending by government ministries, departments and agencies.
The PAAC would also question government bodies throughout the fiscal year, to see how monies are being spent and whether projects are being done according to plan.
Fraser said this committee is necessary because he has noticed that a number of government projects are lagging behind, despite the allocations provided for them to be done.
“There’s a wall being built in Palestina [Estate] that we’ve asked for quite some time now. Up in Albion, the ghut — DDM (Department of Disaster Management) got funding to put in traps in two sections of the ghut. The Sea Cow’s Bay Community Centre — that draining issue has just been addressed with the same DDM. These are projects we’ve been able to get done in the last two years,” Fraser explained during the January 5 sitting of the House of Assembly.
“But the point I’m making is: more could have been done and this is something we need to seriously consider as a legislature. Funding has been placed in the budget year upon year and not spent … It’s not a lack of funding. It’s the lack of the ability to execute. I think it’s time we had a new committee in the House of Assembly — a PAAC,” Fraser said.
A PAAC is different from a Public Accounting Committee (PAC), which meets when new budgets are being prepared and examines how allocations were spent during the last fiscal year.
“That (the PACC) is something we need to have in our arsenal like yesterday. I’d hate for us to come back at the end of 2021 with our budget exercise and the monies that are in the budget are not executed,” Fraser highlighted.
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