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Former PAC chair calls for scrutiny of both overspending and underspending

Thursday 20 June 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in National, Parliament

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Minister for Parliamentary Services, Foreign Affairs and Marine Resources Tingika Elikana says he hopes that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will ensure that money appropriated by government will be spent accordingly.

On Monday, the new chair Teokotai Herman said the only recommendation from the Committee was that the 2024-2025 Appropriation Bill (Budget) be passed in Parliament.

While Elikana, the former chair, says he is happy with the Public Accounts Committee that is taking a keen interest in ensuring that the money appropriated in the 2024-25 Budget will be used accordingly, he advised the PAC to not only look over expenditures, “but most importantly the under expenditure”.

While speaking on the principles and merit of the Appropriation Bill (second reading) on Tuesday, the Pukapuka-Nassau MP said he would be keeping a close eye on those government ministries that have budget allocations for Pukapuka.

“I’ll be keeping a close eye on how that money will be spent and ensure they reach Pukapuka,” Elikana said. “In particular the BTIB (Business Trade Investment Board) $8875, I have not seen them visit Pukapuka since I became MP.”

“I’m hoping that as PAC (you) will hold ministries (accountable) to ensure that money appropriated by the government is spent accordingly. And to ensure also that when they bid and say they will deliver they do deliver.”

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) current comprises of only CIP-led coalition government MPs after three Opposition MPs resigned last month. The Government MPs on the committee are chair Herman, Te-Hani Brown, Sonny Williams and Steven Matapo (new member).

Opposition and Democratic Party leader Tina Browne, deputy leader MP Vaitoti Tupa and Cook Islands United Party MP Robert Heather resigned last month over both the appointment of a new member to replace Elikana, and the election of a new chair.

The Public Accounts Committee is responsible for the scrutiny and review of:

  • the Estimates of expenditure of the Government and its entities;
  • the annual financial statements, the Audit Report on the annual financial statements of the Government, budget policy statements, fiscal strategy reports, economic and fiscal updates and annual reports and other financial reports required to be submitted to Parliament;
  • ministerial and departmental financial management and performance;
  • any legislation or petition relating to public finance, revenue or taxation;
  • all accounts and expenditure of the Parliament (including expenditure and reports on constituency allowances);
  • any other matters within its subject area.