Ministry of Revenue has $87.6 million debt

The Ministry of Revenue had an outstanding debt of $87.6 million in the 2014-2015 financial years.

The figure is revealed in the Public Account Management Audit report.

The same debt was disclosed by the Ministry of Finance a year later, as part of the Government’s response to the Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee’s Report, for Financial Years 2015-2016.

It is not known what the outstanding debt is for.

Contacted for a comment, the Ministry of Revenue C.E.O. Avalisa Viali Fautuaali’i declined.  

“(I) regret the delay in replying but please be advised that I cannot make comments yet on this report as I’m told by the Legislative Assembly that it has yet to be discussed and endorsed by the Parliament,” she said. 

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“Until Parliament endorses it as a public document, I regret to advise that I will not be providing any comments on it.”

The Ministry of Finance, as part of the Government’s response to the Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee’s Report 2015-2016, stated that it would try to account for this “outstanding”.

“We (Ministry of Finance) disclosed the Ministry for Revenue’s outstanding debt of $87.6 million. We strive to account this outstanding on the Government System (Finance One), in the future Public Accounts Finance One is the Government of Samoa Financial and Payroll and Human Resource Management Information System).

“There is work that needed to be done to refine and confirm the balance of this unrecorded debt before we can include it in the overall government ministries receivables,” stated the Ministry.

The need for cooperation between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Revenue – in order to confirm the outstanding debt with documentation from debtors and an audited figure from the Audit Office – was also highlighted by the Ministry of Finance report.

The Ministry of Finance said it will look at its legal options with a view to putting in place a reporting framework to ensure proper accounting is done.

“Nevertheless, Ministry of Finance will review another option on its Legal Reporting Framework to incorporate a requirement for Ministry for Revenue to report their outstanding to MOF for proper accounting and reporting of these figures,” stated Ministry of Finance report. 

Attempts by the Samoa Observer to get comments from the Ministry of Finance C.E.O. Lavea Tupa'imatuna Iulai Lavea on what action is being taken to retire the debt did not get a response when this edition went to print.

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