Fin Ministry to act after studying AG’s report | Sunday Observer

Fin Ministry to act after studying AG’s report

The Finance Ministry will take action to correct where it should be corrected, after studying the Auditor General‘s report which disclaimed accounts of the Finance Ministry last week.

“We want to study the report and discuss with the Auditor General before we take any decision on this report,” State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne told the Sunday Observer. He added that the way the accounts are computed by the Auditor General has been changed over the last couple of years. “It doesn’t mean to say that the AG’s report is wrong but I would say what needs to be corrected will be corrected,” he said.

It was reported that the Auditor General has said the balance of seven loan agreements amounting to 332 billion rupees had not been included in financial statements. And the national debt was 83.3 percent of gross domestic product and not 79.3 percent as reported.

Meanwhile speaking to the Sunday Observer, Corporate Lawyer and Former Securities and Exchange Commission Director General Malik Cader said the Auditor General should have made his observations after seeing the evidence and it was not proper to say there are discrepancies without evidence to corroborate it.

“We think that the Finance Ministry and the Auditor General must work hand in hand to do a complete job,” he opined when asked what impact AG’s comments will have on the financial statements for the year 2016.

Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe told the Sunday Observer that he had made that observation on the Finance Ministry’s latest annual report based on the facts that were made available to him but he did not wish to comment further on the matter. The AG had commented in his disclaimer: “I have not been able to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion. Accordingly, I do not express an opinion on these fiscal statements.”

Among his harsh observations are the inconsistency of the Budget Deficit in the annual report and the AG’s estimates. According to the AG’s observations the estimated budget deficit for the period under review was Rs.1, 488 billion, an increase of 27% over the previous year whereas in the financial statements this amount is Rs.666 billion.

The AG is expected to report his observations to Parliament shortly.