In a bid to further develop parliamentary capacity for effective financial scrutiny and strengthening networks and contacts, a three-day regional workshop for the Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts is presently underway at Suva’s Holiday Inn.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) – sponsored workshop features Public Accounts Committee Members of Parliament from Australia, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, United Kingdom Vanuatu and the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions.
While officiating as Chief Guest, Speaker Hon. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said CPA has been working with Pacific Parliaments and with our development partners to strengthen Parliament’s oversight functions of the executive.
“In recent years, there has been a growing awareness on the importance of public accounts committee in ensuring proper financial management,” Hon. Ratu Epeli said.
“Committees and their role of overseeing government departments and agencies play a crucial role in this process.
“I believe that the most effective way in which Public Accounts Committees (PACs) performance in every jurisdiction can be improved is by developing ways to exchange information. Information is a key resource in building capacity for PAC to function well.
“Even well-established PACs need to keep abreast of developments, identity trends and try to anticipate the varying range of audit issues which it will eventually have to deal with.”
The workshop, Hon. Ratu Epeli said would be an opportunity for the participants to work with their counterparts to consider the unique characteristics of Pacific PACs.
“There will also be a focus on collaboration and how to effectively work together to foster best practices,” he added.
Assistant Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations and Youth and Sports and Chairman for the Public Accounts Committee Hon. Alvick Maharaj said the workshop is helpful after being appointed as the Chairman for PAC together with the new members.
“The workshop is quite helpful in terms of understanding my role and responsibility as Chair, the role of Members and how we can work together with the Auditor-General’s Office to better scrutinize reports,” Hon. Maharaj said.
Meanwhile, an action plan for the Public Accounts Committees is expected to be formulated at the end of the workshop on Thursday.