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P.M.'s Ministry disputes budget blowout

The Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (M.P.M.C.) has disputed a report suggesting its budget has blown out and argues its finances are in fact under control.

According to the Budget Monitoring Report for the September quarter of the 2017-18 Financial Year, the Ministry of the Prime Minister “illustrates high spending rates for both operating and below line with no savings within personnel appropriation to buffer spending”. 

The report noted the Ministry's overspending was composed of: utilisation at 39 per cent above range; operating costs at 29 per cent above range; and below the line items at 67 per cent above. 

The report urged the Ministry to be “more prudent with their use of finances” for the remainder of that year.

But the M.P.M.C. Chief Executive Officer, Agafili Shem Leo, disagreed with those findings.  

In response to queries from the Samoa Observer, Agafili said the Ministry had not overspent its allocated budget during the period in question. 

“This reflects well on our internal controls on spending,” argued the C.E.O.

“As one of the Government’s Central Agencies, M.P.M.C. is at the front line when it comes to facilitating Cabinet decision making, policy coordination across the whole of government, media coordination, border security, and the servicing of the Executive Offices.”

Agafili said it goes without saying that  the Ministry’s functional responsibility is that its approved budgetary allocation is spent according legal requirements.

He said this is to ensure that it delivers on its mandate and the key performance indicators set out in its budget.

“The Ministry spending is planned and outcome based,” he said. 

“There may be [a] shift in priorities between the first and second spell of the [Financial Year], depending on the Ministry’s executions but the most important factor is to keep spending within the budget that has been allocated to the Ministry and being able to deliver the KPIs we had promised to achieve in the FY.” 

The M.P.M.C. had an allocated budget of $7.73 million for 2017/2018 budget. 

In the Budget Monitoring Report it stated M.P.M.C.'s Below the Line budget Items were affected by the full purchase of new passports to facilitate Immigration service delivery as well as the near full utilisation of monies allocated for the Electronic Document Management System.  

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