Difference between necessity and abuse

Dear Editor,

Re: Former Minister questions govt.

I used to work for the government some years back with the Agriculture department. Vai, you’ve said something that makes me remember years back when we were having drinks one Friday. 

I was a junior employee with the department in those days when the Fisheries and the Observatory were under the same umbrella. 

What I’d over heard was not to me but amongst the senior guys that had everything to do with management of the department. There were other people from other ministries as well and they seemed quite at rest with the fact that this is Standard operating protocols(S.O.P.), that if there is leftover budget from the previous year, the idea is to use it all as long as there is record of proper spending. 

For example, car maintenance, office equipment, petrol etc etc, even if it’s not required because it’s such a hassle to explain the over budget then to save it for proper cause, next financial year. 

Judging from the tone of the conversation, it’s an understandable fix. Rather then to have your department budget reduce in the next financial year, it is better to spend it all. 

The understanding is, that’s how the game is played, or those are the rules of the game. Of course it can’t be proven as intend but just to share the on the mind or the heart of abuse or fa’akaukala when it comes to public spending especially in the government. 

I guess that’s what our friend is talking about. It’s very hard to fault this kind of abuse in spending because it’s all in the mixture of normal operating expenditure. 

You really have to be on the inside to know the difference between necessity and abuse and this is really sad because the employees are aware of it and are just playing the system.


Steve R.

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