The Slovenia Times

Court of Audit Says Financing of Public Agencies Inefficient

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The audit covered eight ministries which supervise the financing and operation of public agencies and funds. A total of 15 public agencies and eight public funds were operational at the end of 2013, according to the report.

"This report gives the government and the Public Administration Ministry enough arguments to take measures in this field and reform the public administration," Court of Audit president Toma┼ż Vesel told the press on Tuesday as he presented the report.

He announced that the agencies where largest inconsistencies had been observed would be subject to further auditing.

The Court of Audit said that in certain public agencies and funds, directors also performed the function of the head of the agency council, which can lead to conflict of interest.

In two public agencies, council members received excessive meeting fees, while the amount of fees was not limited in two agencies.

Inconsistencies with regulations were also found in remuneration of managers, including in severance pay and compensation related to competition clauses.

The salary of the head of the Securities Market Agency (ATVP) has exceeded the salary of the prime minister and the president of the republic because there were no limitations for the payment of performance bonuses, Vesel noted.

The Court of Audit also examined the legal basis for the use of funds by indirect and direct budget users, recommending the government to implement certain restrictions.

One of the findings is that relevant ministries had not been effective in supervising public agencies and funds, which belongs to their scope of work.

In cases when public agencies and funds were not financed directly from the state budget, supervision was limited only to reviews of financial plans and annual reports.

Financial plans of public agencies and funds were in many cases confirmed too late or were not discussed by the government at all, as they were submitted almost at the end of the year.

The report has also established that a majority of public agencies and funds operated with a surplus in 2012 and 2013. Agencies reported a total of EUR 10m in surplus at the end of 2013 and funds reported more than EUR 15m in surplus.

The Court of Audit notes that decisions about how to use surpluses were not consistent, as some of the bodies used it for development or reserves, while others needed to return them to the state budget in part or fully.

Vesel also warned about the risk related to potential restructuring of public funds into companies, which would further loosen oversight. This could happen with the Eco Fund or the Housing Fund, he added.

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