Financial projection missing from ASG 4th Qtr report
A financial projection for the American Samoa Government at the end of fiscal year 2013, which closed on Sept. 30, 2013 was not included in the 4th quarter performance report by the Treasury Department, which has provided in past years, preliminary figures about where the government stands on revenue-versus-expenditures.
Such a financial projection would provide important information such as whether the government is expected to be in the red or in the black at the end of the fiscal year. The Fono also uses the 4th quarter report as background financial information if the administration submits new money bills.
What many lawmakers wanted to see is the actual status of the ASG finances after an administration bill to reprogram $4.3 million in FY 2013 was tabled last month in the Senate during the special session called by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, who said the reprogramming legislation was necessary to ensure ASG has a “balanced budget” at the end of the fiscal year.
After tabling the reprogram bill, Senate President Gaoteote Tofau wrote to the governor saying the Senate had serious concerns and reservations about the bill and would need a full financial accounting of ASG’s condition before it proceeds on the bill, which should be presented in January as a re-appropriation of surplus funds, if such funds are truly available. (See Oct. 10 Samoa News story for details).
Treasury’s 3rd quarter performance report also didn’t provide data on revenue vs. expenditures and Treasurer Dr. Falema’o ‘Phil’ M. Pili told lawmakers in September this was intentionally left out due to concerns that it didn’t provide a “clear” picture of ASG operations, as there were some issues that needed to be clarified.
He said that report would reach others — including the media — and it would be published with misinformation that would need correction.
In Treasury’s 4th quarter report dated Oct. 29 and submitted by Deputy Treasurer Ueligitone Tonumaipe’a, it states the department had a budget surplus which was reprogrammed to cover other budgetary overruns.
According to the “budget position report”, as of Sept. 30, 2013, Treasury had a balance of $32,052 — a surplus.
Its FY 2013 budget was $4.20 Million while expenditures were $4.16 Million.
The 4th quarter performance report also states Customs collected in the 4th quarter just over $5.90 million ($5,908,517) for an average monthly collection of $1.96 million (or $1,969,506) — just shy of their $2 million monthly goal.
(At the end of the third quarter of FY 2013, the Customs Division collected revenues totaling $6.4 million — or $6,402,242 — for an average monthly collection of $2,134,081, surpassing their $2 million monthly goal.)
The Tax Office reported collecting 4th quarter revenues totaling $6.62 million ($6,623,113) for an average monthly collection of $2.20 million (or $2,207,704).
(In the 3rd quarter, the Tax Office collected total revenue of $6,477,067 for an average monthly collection of $2,159,022)
The Treasury’s 4th quarter report went on to say that in the past months the department “has positively addressed all our federal site visits” from the U.S. Labor Department, U.S. Department of Education, various auditors and the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs.
“The partnership we have in place to carry out the priority projects that were approved and blessed by our executive leaders is winding down,” it says. “It is imperative that we keep the integrity of this partnership intact.”
Regarding impediments, the performance report said Treasury’s “prevalent obstruction to our organization” is the lack of resources to carry out mandated functions. Additionally, effective operations are hampered by a lack of manpower and qualified staff in various divisions.