06 Fiscal Data
Problem/Issue to be addressed: Details of the Public Accounts have not been made publicly available in a comprehensive and timely manner. Government departments/agencies and other subsidiary bodies have not been submitting timely financial statements to the Department of Finance to then submit to the Office of the Auditor General for audit and presentation to Parliament, thus resulting in PNG’s annual audit reports not being made available to the public in a timely manner.; Main Objective: Make fiscal information available to the public in an accurate, comprehensive and timely manner, throughout the Budget cycle (notably, including the eight (8) principal documents widely considered fundamental to providing Budget transparency, and posted on respective government, Parliamentary and/or audit websites). This includes having full and timely annual audit reports made public on the AGO website, as well as pre-budget statements, through to InYear, Mid-Year and Final Budget Outcome reports available, in machinereadable format, on respective government and/or Parliament websites,(notably: Treasury, which is responsible for publishing the Budget Submission and associated legislative Bills and the pre-budget through to end of year reports; the Auditor-General’s website for the Audit of the public finances; the Parliament website for the certified Budget Appropriation and related Budget legislation), which provide citizens access to needed current fiscal information on: 1) The Public Accounts of PNG; 2) The Pre-Budget Statement 3) The Proposed Budget, showing forecast Budget parameters, revenue and planned expenditure, with respect to:
Another objective which is important is to maintain PNG’s eligibility as a member of the OGP, in terms of the specified criteria, and to progressive]·· improve standards, and enable PNG to exercise a leadership role in governanc issues in the region.; Brief Description of Commitment: The commitment is focused upon the timely and comprehensive pubh. provision and public release of fiscal details, throughout the budget cycle, right through to the audit of public funds, to enable the public to engage meaningfull in the budget process, from its preparation stages through to contributing to holding the government accountable, at national and local levels, for th efficient use of public funds in the public interest. Engagement by Parliamer with the public and through the budget process, and full transparency in public procurement and other contracting are also critical to effective and accountable government operations. Section 214 (1) of the Constitution states that “The primary functions of the Auditor-General are to inspect and audit, and report at least once in every fiscal year (as provided by an Act of the Parliament) to the Parliament on the public accounts of Papua New Guinea, and on the control of and on transactions with or concerning the public monies and property of Papua New Guinea, and such other functions as are prescribed by or under a Constitutional Law”. Although the Constitution states for the Office of the Auditor General to inspect, audit and report to Parliament on the public accounts of PNG at least once in every fiscal year, it is clearly evident that this is not the case.; OGP Grand Challenge address by the Commitment: Increasing Public Integrity -This commitment to providing timely, accurate and accessible fiscal data is expected to contribute towards greater transparency and allow PNG citizens to monitor better the source and use of public resources. It would also help to reduce opportunities for fraud, corruption and waste, and gives citizens power to follow the money.; Relevance – Briefly describe the way in which this commitment is relevant to further advancing OGP values of access to information, public accountability, civic participation, and technology and innovation for openness and accountability: Fiscal Transparency is one of the four main eligibility criteria for joining the OGP. Any country wishing to participate in OGP needs to meet minimum eligibility requirements. Having timely annual audit reports made public is a requirement of the OGP. PNG is currently eligible to participate in OGP with a score of 12 out of 16 possible points. However, the Open Budget Survey, from which the OGP draws its data, shows that PNG has lost 2 points because the government’s audit report has not been made publically available. Improving the openness and comprehensiveness of budget and procurement details in a timely manner, associated with the OGP National Action Plan, to achieve positive governance improvement, would also raise PNG status in various international governance indicators (including the Open Budget Index, etc); Ambition: Briefly describe the intended results of the commitment and how it will either make government open or improve government through more openness: This commitment aims to ensure that details on public monies and resources (including borrowings) from the planning stage through to actual expenditure and audits, entailing National Government departments/agencies, Provinces and local governments, public authorities and other State owned bodies and their subsidiaries, are made available in a comprehensive and timely manner for the citizens of PNG, and that associated processes with respect to the utilisation of public finance and resources, including public procurement and contracting, are released full and promptly It is also intended that this commitment will lead to improving financial transparency and management practices within Government departments/agencies and other subsidiary bodies.; Variable and Measurable milestones to fulfill the commitment: Milestone 1 -Audit of Public Accounts. Audit compliance from timely submissions of comprehensive financial statements to AGO, to timely release of the reports of Public Account to Parliament and the public (which in turn requires adequate funding and human resources); Milestone 2 -Rollout the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) to all government bodies including sub-national level in accordance with schedule, to facilitate timely updates and sound management of public funds; Milestone 3 -Parliamentary oversight. For Treasury & Finance to engage meaningfully with a Parliamentary Committee on the Budget during preparation of the Budget, and for an adequately resourced Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee to engage with respective public bodies on the outcomes of the Audit reports, and to engage in turn with Civil Society.; Milestone 4 -Providing in-year fiscal reports on the Treasury website. Produce and release publicly monthly, or initially at least quarterly, fiscal update reports.; Milestone 5 -Following approval of new Public Procurement Policy, draft apply legislation on public contracting which adheres to the principles of Open Contracting, whereby the process is open, competitive and entails full public disclosure and provides adequate time equally for all prospective applications/ proposals/ bids/ to be prepared and submitted, with the public having full access to the tender documents, details of potential bidders and their interest and beneficial ownership, and the process and outcomes of the tender, or other public contracting arrangements.; Milestone 6 a- Develop a Citizens’ Budget- Government to produce a clear, but simpler and explanatory version of the budget in summary explaining 1) the economic assumptions underlying the budget; 2) the budget process; 3) revenue collection; 4) debt repayment as a share of the budget; 5) priorities in allocations and spending; 6) official development assistance sources; 7) sector-specific information and information about targeted programs; 8) sub- national allocations and for what purpose; 9) contact information for follow up by citizens. Government to make Citizens’ Budget available for wide public dissemination, by government or civil society bodies, across the provinces and into rural areas. Relevant data on related revenue or expenditure for the two preceding years to be provided. (This will also provide a model for future Citizen’s Budgets at the sub-national level); Milestone 6b – Dept. of Treasury, Finance, National Planning, together with CIMC, to design and implement a system for timely and systematic participation by the public in the Budget process, from preparation through to oversight, with CIMC, INA, TIPNG and other CSOs, to undertake public awareness about the budget process and composition, including the Budget outcomes, and requirements under the Public Finances (Management) Act, as revised.; Milestone 7a -CIMC with TIPNG and other CSOs undertake budget tracking/social auditing activities at sub-national level. Schedule 6 districts per year. Milestone 7b – TIPNG, CIMC & INA with subnational CSOs work with, oversight organisations such as the Auditor General and Ombudsman Commission to encourage public feedback on public financial management concerns and complaints. Milestone 7c – Joint Milestone facilitated through the Public Participation Cluster; Dept of Finance and other Govt bodies, Audit General Office and Parliament to cooperate with Civil Society bodies (notably CIMC, TIPNG, & INA and sub-national CSOs) to help design/apply suitable feedback mechanisms (e.g. Civil Society Forums, PNGRGC, etc.) for feedback on public sector accountability, and public goods/service standards etc.