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Financial Secretary warns against wasting fiscal resources

- Says Protocols for EFM should not be viewed as a straight jacket but as a guide
Financial Secretary Neil M. Smith has urged Ministries and Departments to better manage fiscal resources and also said that the Protocols for Effective Financial Management should not be viewed as a straight jacket but rather a guide for efficiency and accuracy. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – “Protocols for Effective Financial Management or not, we must manage our fiscal resources properly. We must get the most bang for each buck,” were the firm words of Financial Secretary Mr. Neil M. Smith at the Ministry of Communications and Works inaugural Retreat at Treasure Isle Hotel on January 24, 2013.

According to Mr Smith, available fiscal resources were being used for operational matters and less and less funding being used for capital projects. These projections even propose that at some point there can be a cross over to where there will not be enough fiscal resources to fund the operations of the Government itself. The solution to this he said will be to grow the economy so that there will be more taxes to collect and more jobs for people to fill.

“The other half of the equation which he places on us (i.e.: the civil service) is to be efficient, effective, transparent and to do so credibly. In order to do this we need accurate and timely information, use this information to manage ourselves and to do so credibly by following globally accepted standards or reporting and decision making. Most critical to this process therefore is how we report on the status of our financial resources, how we manage our fiscal resources and make decisions on the allocation of these fiscal resources. It is here that the Ministry of Finance comes in,” said Mr Smith.

The Financial Secretary was among the few persons who spoke at the launch of the retreat but made it crystal clear that Ministries and Departments needed to strive for efficiency and accuracy. “… I can further say that if project plans are not properly developed, financial instructions not followed and your ministry (or other ministries) are delinquent such that the Ministry of Finance is not satisfied that we have a true and accurate representation of the state of play, we will be extremely forceful in ensuring that you do in order that the Minister can get his work done. However, if we see a spirit of cooperation, we will help you whatever your shortcomings may be, and facilitate your efforts in order for you to achieve the goals of the Ministry. We may make mistakes along the way, but once we have the right mindset we will succeed.”

Mr Smith was keen on highlighting the importance and need for living up to mandates that were set to manage the fiscal resources wisely, and the importance of planning in the medium and long term, and the provision of accurate information. “The goal of the Ministry of Finance has been to help the ministries to achieve as much of their goals as possible, but we cannot do this if you are “wasting” what you have by using these resources in less than effective and efficient ways,” said Smith.

“Protocols for Effective Financial management or not, we must manage or fiscal resources properly. We must get the most bang for each buck…It is in this light that you should view the Protocols for Effective Financial management, not as a straight jacket that have been placed on us, but instead as a guide on how we should do certain things. You may recall that most of the provisions within it are the same as what was proposed by the Premier in the Financial Management Reform Initiative,” Mr Smith said.

“So I urge you to follow the financial instructions that will be given or have been given so that we can help you and in so doing provide the Minister with the support needed to achieve his goals. It’s a big task to make the changes we must, but in the end if we keep at it, it can be done,” he challenged.

The warning is definitely out so when the hammer starts to fall or the accolades resounds there will be no saying that they were not forewarned. 

8 Responses to “Financial Secretary warns against wasting fiscal resources”

  • USA student (29/01/2013, 08:59) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    pure talk He party in now he playing politics
  • ooooo (29/01/2013, 10:05) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    i believe he's talking to mark in a smart way
  • ABC (29/01/2013, 10:43) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Until you take back control of the Ministry of Finance from POW, all that you have said will amount to hot air. I am disappoined that you have allowed that man to side line you even though it was done with the blessings of the Ministers. I would like to suggest to you that if you allow the Minister to increase the salary of OPRA #2 to $96,000 and young Mr. Penn to be transferred to the CM office at $200,000, you would be guilty of further corrupting the Civil Service. All eyes are on you.
    • Biggs (29/01/2013, 12:22) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
      What does their salary increases have to do with you? If they are qualified they should be paid. You people crazy or what? No wonder so many Tolians don't care to be around their own. They good and happy for you when you like them, but as soon as you better yourself you don't deserve it. $96K per year is any money? Schups!!!!
      • sheila (29/01/2013, 12:57) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
        There's no point having a logical discussion with people like you, so don't even bother.

    • TO ABC (29/01/2013, 23:16) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      Hear all, but attend to that which concerns you

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