Fiji received $430m during the COVID period

May 18, 2022 12:30 pm

[Source: Parliament of Fiji]

Permanent Secretary for Economy, Shiri Gounder confirms that Fiji received around $430m in budgetary assistance during the COVID period.

While making submissions to the Public Accounts Committee, Gounder also clarified that the Office of the Auditor-General when auditing the management of COVID aid, focused on only $25 million of the total amount.

This was in response to the Senior Manager at the Office of the Auditor-General, Dineshwar Prasad who highlighted that the Ministry was compliant with procedures, but there were gaps identified.

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“What we found out in this area is the proper monitoring, the lack of standard operating procedure, which lacked the proper monitoring, proper maintenance, and accounting. The aid in kind that includes the central database system that was lacking, has been recommended to the Ministry of Economy.”

[Source: Parliament of Fiji]

Gounder says the audit was conducted at a very early stage of the COVID period, there was a COVID-19 response budget and this was the early initial phase of the aid that the government started receiving.

The PS adds the audit focuses on less than five percent of the financial assistance received.

“The Ministry of Economy, we provided whatever was required, we respected whatever the Auditor General was doing, but we think that it was slightly premature to put this report to the Public Accounts Committee at a very early stage.”

[Source: Parliament of Fiji]

Gounder also made it known that aid in kind is not the same as project grants from bilateral partners, adding they have also informed the Office of the Auditor General on the process surrounding the use of budgetary support funds.