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PASAI and Tongan Parliament work together to strengthen PAC's oversight role

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Media Release 25 October 2018

PASAI works with the Tongan Parliament to strengthen the PAC’s oversight role

L-R: PAC Chairman, Hon. Tevita Lavemaau, Speaker Lord Fakafanua, PASAI Chief Executive Tiofilusi Tiueti, and Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni.

L-R: PAC Chairman, Hon. Tevita Lavemaau, Speaker Lord Fakafanua, PASAI Chief Executive Tiofilusi Tiueti, and Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni.

The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) was honoured to host a delegation from the Tonga Parliament at the PASAI Secretariat office on 23rd October 2018.

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The delegation was led by Tonga’s Speaker of Parliament, Lord Fakafanua, who previously attended a Public Financial Management (PFM) Symposium in Tonga from 4 – 6 September 2018 that was co-facilitated by PASAI, the Tonga Ministry of Finance and National Planning (MFNP), Tonga Office of the Auditor-General (TOAG), and Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC). His Lordship was joined by two Members of Parliament, Hon. Tevita Lavemaau (Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee) and Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni (member of the Public Accounts Committee).

Continuing the theme of the PFM Symposium, the two parties discussed PASAI’s current and future support programs to the Tonga Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in strengthening its oversight role on legislative scrutiny of the annual budget and the audited financial statements of government.

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Says Lord Fakafanua, ‘This was a highly productive meeting in which we were all able to gain further clarity and understanding of the status of our current programs with PASAI and also future initiatives to enhance the PAC’s roles, responsibilities and support mechanisms in this critical area. I am very keen to build on the relationships with PASAI and their development parties to share our experiences and grow accordingly, and look forward to moving forward with everything discussed.’

In the past two years, PASAI has been providing technical support to Tonga’s Parliament and PAC in building the capacity of parliamentarians to better understand their role in providing financial oversight of public expenditure, developing PAC frameworks and procedures for review and scrutiny of external audit reports, and enhancing public awareness of the PAC. The meeting clarified the way forward and continuation of these support programs. These programs were funded by Australian Aid (DFAT).    

PASAI continues to support initiatives to strengthen PACs in the region in improving the understanding of accountability and transparency on the part of citizens, and thanks all its development partners in these programs and activities, especially DFAT and MFAT.

 

For more information please contact PASAI Communications Advisor, jill.marshall@pasai.org

 

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Strengthening PFM for Better Service Delivery: PFM Symposium in Tonga, 4-6 Sept 2018

 Joint Media Release

11 September 2018

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The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI), together with the Tonga Ministry of Finance and National Planning (MFNP) and Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC), held a Public Financial Management (PFM) Symposium in Tonga from 4 – 6 September 2018. Australia was pleased to provide financial support to PASAI for the event.

The theme of the Symposium was ‘Strengthening PFM for Better Service Delivery’. The event brought key stakeholders together to review progress against implementation of the Tonga PFM Roadmap 2014/15 – 2019/20.

Hosted by Tonga’s MFNP and co-facilitated by PASAI and PFTAC, the Symposium was attended by over 60 participants representing Government Ministries, Parliament, National Reserve Bank of Tonga, public enterprises, faith-based and civil society organisations, media entities, regional institutions, and development partners. Speakers shared valuable perspectives on Tonga PFM reform through presentations and/or panel discussions.

Lively discussions centred on how PFM can help Government to provide more efficient and effective service delivery in a transparent and accountable way, and these valuable inputs will be incorporated into an update of the Tonga PFM Roadmap. This process helped participants understand that the Roadmap is a living document that should be reviewed and updated regularly. These ‘lessons learned’ will be used across all other Pacific countries that have PFM Roadmaps in place.  

The MFNP will reactivate its PFM Steering Committee to propel the way forward for reform. The PFM Symposium has also highlighted the need to re-institute a regional PFM forum, with Pacific PFM institutions coming together more often to hold regular meetings and obtain updates on PFM issues.

HE Andrew Ford, the Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, emphasised in his opening remarks the importance of PFM to achieve efficient and effective allocation of public services and build public trust in government. This was followed by the opening address of the keynote speaker, Hon. Mateni Tapueluelu, Acting Minister for Finance and National Planning, who stated: “We need to speak with one clear voice and everyone is responsible.” This became a recurring theme throughout the three days, underlining the need for all delegates to work together, collaborate, communicate and coordinate to achieve the outcomes of the Roadmap and improve the government service delivery to the people of Tonga.

Closing the Symposium, the Speaker of Tonga Legislative Assembly, Lord Fakafanua, summed it up. “This is an ideal platform for stakeholders to share strategies involved in PFM reform initiatives. This symposium is a testament and commitment to move forward”.  The way forward will be the responsibility of all stakeholders and it is hoped implementation will result in positive outcomes for the citizens of Tonga.

PASAI would like to thank and acknowledge the ongoing support of Australia DFAT and NZ MFAT, and the great collaborative working relationship with Tonga’s Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Tonga’s Office of the Auditor-General, PFTAC, development partners and local PFM experts in delivering this Symposium.

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