Elikana heads new public accounts body

Wednesday October 10, 2018 Written by Published in Politics

Government MP Tingika Elikana will chair the new Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that was established by Parliament late last month.

 

The deputy minister of Justice and MP for Pukapuka/Nassau will be assisted by deputy chairperson Vaitoti Tupa, who is the Opposition MP for Matavera.

The other members of the committee are Tai Tura (Leader of the House and MP for Mauke), Toka Hagai, (Deputy Speaker and MP for Rakahanga), Patrick Arioka (MP for Murienua), Terepai Maoate (Parliamentary leader of Opposition and MP Amuri/Ureia and Te-Hani Brown (MP for Tengatangi/Areora/Ngatiarua).

Tangata Vainerere, who is the executive director of Pacific Legislatures for Population and Governance, has been appointed the clerk of the committee.

The PAC had its first meeting on Wednesday last week where the members confirmed the work plan for the rest of the year. They also went through some familiarisation with the procedures and processes of the committee.

In a statement, the committee said they would be embarking on some practical training in the near future to fine-tune their approaches to their work.

Earlier in an interview with this newspaper, Elikana said the PAC had an important role to ensure that the finances of the country were in order.

However he said it would be difficult for the PAC to do its job if the reports were not available.

“I think in the past we used to rely on the PERCA established under statute and I think the time is now right for parliament to take ownership, because my view is that the parliament passes the budget and it should monitor where the funds are used,” Elikana earlier stated.

“More importantly because it’s in parliament, when the next budget comes in, they can take what they have learned from previous Auditor General reports and try to improve on the next budget.

“I think the important thing is to ensure that the limited funds that we have are spent appropriately and used on things that we really need, rather than things that we want.”

The PAC was established by Parliament in December, 2015, “to be the financial oversight of Parliament and to report on the Budget and Public Accounts, and also to examine reports of the Auditor General and any such report and to undertake any financial matters deemed necessary and to report all findings to Parliament”.

The PAC shall be responsible for the scrutiny and review of:

a. The public accounts, annual reports and audits of financial statements of the government;

b. The Estimates of expenditure of the government and its entities;

c. Ministerial and departmental financial management and performance;

d. Any legislation or petition relating to public finance, revenue or taxation;

e. Any other matters within its subject area. 

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