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Niue Premier Dalton Tagelagi has acknowledged in the Legislative Assembly the concerns around the Niue Government’s outstanding audit reports.
In his speech to the Assembly as the newly elected Premier outlining his government’s plans, he assured the Assembly of a collective resolve to complete the outstanding audit reports to 30 June 2018 by 30 October 2020.
“We all know with deep concern the backlog of accountability audit reports from 2015/16 onward. We are confident, that the hire of Delloittes Accountancy Company will assist Treasury in completing the overdue reports in time.
“I want to assure this assembly of our collective resolve to complete the outstanding audit reports to 30 June 2018 by 30 October 2020. We shall honour and respect the important independent oversight role that the Office of the NZ Auditor General provides for the Government and People of Niue.” said Tagelagi
The latest audit report for Niue is for the 2014 – 2015 financial year which was tabled in Parliament in April this year. However, 5 years in arrears of audit reports are still pending.
Concerns have been raised by the Opposition members of Parliament over the outstanding audit reports and was also discussed during the general election campaign by the candidates in public forums.
The Premier also highlighted the government’s financial position.
“As we approach the end of the financial year, our financial position, which is historically fluid; we do have cash flow challenges. Therefore, vigilant management and prudent decision making is essential for the transition or cut off period leading to the new financial year. We will ensure that the ongoing financial obligations for fuel, priority road maintenance, health supplies, salaries, and pensions are being met. I ask that we support our local businesses and hold back on big items from overseas till we are financially stable”
He also spoke about Niue’s international Trust Fund and the upcoming 2020/2021 National Budget.
“We will endeavour to safeguard our trust fund around $66 million (US$42 million) of cash investment together with trustees NZ and Australia.
Projections for the new appropriation budget on expenditure and revenue votes shall be cautious and diligent. Austerity measures would apply and tough decisions ought to be made.” said Tagelagi.
Meanwhile, Premier Dalton Tagelagi and Minister for Finance Crossley Tatui appears to have a shared portfolio in Finance and Planning.
Following the appointment of the Premier’s ‘Cabinet of Unity’, the detailed portfolios of the cabinet ministers have been issued publicly.
According to the issued statement, the Premier Dalton Tagelagi is also the Minister for Central Agencies and Commercial Agencies.
His ministerial portfolio states that the Premier is responsible for Finance and Planning which deals with the treasury department of government.
The treasury department is responsible for the national budget.
Crossley Tatui is the Minister for Infrastructure and Finance, his ministerial portfolio states that he is also responsible for finance and planning, however only for Customs, Statistics, Immigration, Taxation, Economics and Trade.
In Wednesday’s Assembly sitting, MP O’love Jacobsen raised concern over the portfolio questioning whether there are two ministers for Finance.
While responding to the Premier’s speech where he had outlined the government’s plans for the next 3 years, Jacobsen said that if the Premier is going to appoint Crossley Tatui as the Minister for Finance, the Premier needs to give all the finance responsibilities under the finance portfolio adding that Tatui is well suited for the entire finance portfolio.
BCN News understands that this is the first time the Premier of Niue has appointed a Member of Parliament from the previous opposition and has been allocated the portfolio of Minister of Finance.
BCN News is seeking clarification from the Premier on the finance portfolios.
SOURCE: TV NIUE/PACNEWS
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