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Feb 20, 2018

Fixing Government Oversight: the Case of the Contractor General

Godwin Arzu

The Government has indicated that Contractor General Godwin Arzu will be replaced as a result of failing to meet requirements in legislation to submit annual reports on his work since 2013. However, Ombudsman Lionel Arzu is expected to be offered another contract to continue in that post. But are these important institutions providing quality results? As part of its reform agenda established more than three years ago, it is more important for the business community that these oversight posts, and others such as the Audit Institution, are seen to be working well, and that means money to support them, according to Senator Mark Lizarraga.

 

Mark Lizarraga

Mark Lizarraga, Senator for the Business Community

“We have a lot of institutions that are lacking, that are not performing as per the law, as per their obligations under the law. And I think that is why, in the Senate, we rejected strongly the appointment of the Contractor General, because we have not been seeing any of his works published, and as you know, the Government continues to spend hundreds of millions on contracts and we need to have oversight there. But that is not the only oversight body that is non-functioning. Let us look at the Public Accounts Committee: we have been promised for over a year now that that committee would be re-constituted and re-activated and we have not seen that. We continue to hear the cries for auditors in all of the ministries, because all of the ministries spend millions and millions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money, and we want to see that all of those Ministries have internal auditors, to keep a check and to tell us that we are getting value for money being spent by the Government. Also we continue to cry as in every budget that these institutions of oversight be strengthened, because we need to protect and safeguard the people’s money. So I think that is a call that we are going to continue to make, that we have proper reporting from those government bodies that should be reporting. For example, audited financials from B.I.L.; we have not seen audited financials from B.T.B., and these institutions are responsible for quite a bit of the public monies.”

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