The following statement was released today (Aug 26) by Opposition Leader Cole Simons as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee…

In an effort to keep the public abreast of the on-going oversight work of the Paliamentary Standing Committe on the Public Accounts (the PAC). I want to inform the people of Bermuda about a number of matters which the PAC have had under review and will continue to examine further in 2022.

As has been the case in many other Parliaments around the world recently, a primary focus of Bermuda9s PAC this year is on Government’s emergency expenditures relating to the COVID-19 Pandemic, including procurement issues surrounding healthcare equipment and supplies, and financial assistance to persons and concessions to businesses during the worst of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. The PAC has begun reviewing the Auditor General’s Public Interest Report on the 8Government of Bermuda’s Response to COVID-19 and her later Public Interest Report on the Government of Bermuda’s Response to COVID-19: The Unemployment Benefit Administration.

We will be further examining the issues and concerns raised in these reports, with additional information on these expenditures and value for money analysis of outside vendor contracts to be sought from relevant senior Public Officers, to ensure that good governance financial management practices and procurement processes have been adhered to. We will also examine fiscal management, with a focus on financing to supplement reduced Government revenues and on those occasions when additional funding was required for financial assistance. This will include a review of the impact on the national debt, and the total value of COVID-19 related expenses incurred by the Cabinet Office and the Ministries of Finance, Health, National Security and Labour.

Some of the other matters the PAC has had under review recentlyinclude the financial health of the public Pension Funds, factors contributing to delays for some publicly-funded entities in producing up to date accounts suitable foraudit by the Office of the Auditor General, and the effectiveness and efficiency of Government’s IT and E-Government infrastructure.

Also among other matters, the PAC expects to report later this year on its findings and recommendations arising out of our examination of the management of Government9s Accounts Receivables, referencing the current total amount of accounts receivables, recovery and debt collection processes and the scale and natureof receivables which may be regarded as doubtful accounts.

The PAC plays a leading role in Parliamentary oversight on Government spending and activities, and we continue working toward that end.