Dickinson vows to keep eye on purse strings

  • Relief priority: Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Relief priority: Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance (Photograph by Akil Simmons)


The finance minister promised he is keeping a close eye on the public purse strings during the Covid-19 crisis — but his priority is to get relief to struggling families.

Curtis Dickinson was speaking after Heather Thomas, the Auditor-General, warned last month that sound financial management should not be neglected, as the Government’s actions throughout the pandemic would have a major and long-term impact on the country.

Mr Dickinson, speaking at a government briefing on Wednesday, said he was a “strict taskmaster” on financial best practices in the Government.

However, he added that the Government had been forced to set up a massive unemployment benefits programme in the space of a few weeks.

Mr Dickinson said: “I am of the view that the perfect should not be the enemy of the practical.”

He added: “In delivering benefits to people, we had to do things fairly quickly. Did we dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s? No.

“That’s what the last few weeks have been all about, avoiding further harm. I would gladly take a licking in order to get food on someone’s table to support their family.”

Ms Thomas said in her statement: “While I recognise that those who need assistance need it quickly, I wish to point out that there is still an essential need for strong public accountability and transparency and it is important for decision makers to have up-to-date financial information in order to understand the available capacity for future interventions, both during the pandemic and in the long term.”

Ms Thomas also expressed concern in February that it was “unacceptable” that 28 publicly funded bodies had amassed a backlog of financial statements that totalled more than 100 years.

She added that it was a problem that had plagued successive governments.

Mr Dickinson has pledged to fix the problem.

He said on Wednesday there was “clearly a resourcing issue” both inside the Government and in the Office of the Auditor-General, which was contributed to the lateness of financial statements.

But Mr Dickinson added that he had hired private-sector accountancy firms to help clear the auditing backlog.

You must be registered or signed-in to post comment or to vote.

Published May 15, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated May 15, 2020 at 7:28 am)

Dickinson vows to keep eye on purse strings

What you
Need to
Know
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon

  • Take Our Poll

    Today's Obituaries

    eMoo Posts