By Momodou Jarju
The Public Enterprise Committee engagement with public enterprises (PEC) has suffered another setback yesterday Wednesday June 15, 2019 at the National Assembly.
On Tuesday May 14, 2019, the committee could not engage the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA) because of the incomplete exercise of the National Audit Office on its financial statements for the year under review.
The Gambia Maritime Agency (GMA) who were to present their reports in the morning did not show up and The Gambia Standards Bureau (TGSB) who came in the afternoon only submitted the activity report and failed to submit their financial statements.
Both enterprises were supposed to present their activity reports and financial statements for the year under review, 2015 and 2016 to PEC.
Officials said they have been trying for a long time to get the report from the auditor general’s office to no avail, thus, they asked for the support of the select committee for them to get the audit report of the financial statement to fulfil the requirements of the constitution.
The chair of the committee Hon. Halifa Sallah said the standard is that, there must be minimum submission that requires the basic documents for adoption of the reports.
“This instance means that submission cannot go through by virtue of the absence of the audited report and financial statement,” he said.
The officials were then allowed to negotiate among themselves and with the audit office to come up with a suitable date for them to prepare and submit the financial statements to PEC.
Upon negotiation, the officials consented with the audit office to submit its financial audit statements to PEC on June 3, 2019. And the committee will communicate a date for them to appear for presentation thereafter.
Meanwhile, Hon. Sallah said they did not provide the minimum documents that they are required to submit to the committee for the institution to be considered being compliant with the constitution.
He said their committee is established to monitor the operation of enterprises and ensure that they are efficient and transparent and promote probity which requires the public enterprises to present activity reports and financial statements within three months after the end of the financial year. Hon. Sallah said with the absence of the documents, monitoring cannot be done.
“We are given a mandate by the constitution that the appropriate committee, this committee of the national assembly, may extend the time for the submission of any report. This is why we are here gathered to look at reports which may have been submitted whether in 2016 or 2015, 2017, 2018. We inherited a backlog and we entered into an agreement with public enterprises to end the backlog. The requirement was for the public enterprises to submit 2015 and 2016 activity reports and financial statements by June 2018 and 2017 by December 21, 2018. And then we start fresh, 2018 within the framework of the constitutional requirement,” he said.