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Next week Friday is cut off date for purchases for all government agencies

Budget Office director Catherine Saelua [SN file photo]
Anything after the date, will have to be resubmitted for FY 2018

The ASG Office of Budget and Planning has set Aug. 18th as the cut off date for purchases for all government agencies for the current fiscal year (FY 2017), as the Lolo Administration works on ensuring there is no overrun. This year’s cut off date is about two weeks earlier than last year’s deadline of Aug. 31st.

At yesterday’s cabinet meeting at the Agriculture Department conference room, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga requested directors to contain spending for the remainder of FY 2017, which ends before midnight on Sept. 30th.

“We’re making every effort to make sure that we do not overrun the FY 2017 budget,” he said, adding that it may appear that this will be a difficult task or cannot be an accomplished task, but “it can be done.”

Lolo reminded his cabinet members that the government had been able to achieve this — no overrun — in previous fiscal years, which were difficult times, and there is no reason it cannot be done again.

Budget Office director Catherine Saelua added that a letter has been sent to all departments regarding the cut off date for purchases and closing out accounts for FY 2017.

She said “you cannot undermine the importance of our closing for FY 2017.”

“So any purchases that you might want after that, will have to be resubmitted in the new fiscal year,” she added and reiterated to directors, that this is time to “concentrate on closing out, revisit your accounts, [and] close our encumbrances.”

Samoa News notes that it’s always some time in August ever year that the Administration sets a specific date for cut off for all purchases for a particular fiscal year. However, there have been some complaints to the Fono over the years from senior ASG of officials that because of the cut off deadline, other emergency purchases cannot be made, until the start of the new fiscal year.

The cut off date for purchases — or for agencies to submit invoices for payment — for FY 2016, was Aug. 31, 2016.

Meanwhile, Saelua says the final FY 2018 budget is to be submitted soon to the Fono and hopefully it will be at the Legislature when lawmakers reconvene on Aug. 21st after their four-week mid session recess.

She reminded cabinet members that it’s the Fono that will set up budget hearings — dates and times — for each ASG entity and that information will then be submitted to the Governor’ s Of ce.

Lolo reminded directors again to remain on island during budget hearings, because the Fono won’t accept any other witnesses to testify on a department’s budget, except the director. In the case of authorities — such as the LBJ Medical Center — it’s the executive director or the chief executive of officer.