More than $9MIL deficit forecast for general fund
The First Quarterly Performance Report for Fiscal Year 2013 for all government departments and agencies has been submitted to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga from Catherine Saelua, the acting director of the Planning and Budget Office.
In her February 7 letter to the governor, which is the first page of the report, Saelua reminded Lolo that the activities reported cover the period under the previous administration — Sept. 30, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2012.
She further noted that every government agency prepared and submitted their respective quarterly performance reports and “this denotes a first in many years where all agencies of the government have prepared reports and were received by this office on time.”
Saelua continued, “This bodes well for our administration in demonstrating the collaborative efforts and the pledge of our new agency leadership to our government’s commitment towards unity, equity, transparency, and accountability.”
According to Saelua, in accordance with the dictates of the statute, the quarterly reports are presented without any modifications or adjustments performed, “thus maintaining the integrity of each agency report.”
In the first of a series of articles by Samoa News in the coming days of the FY 2013 First Quarterly Report, the ASG Treasury Department and the Territorial Office of Fiscal Reform are featured.
ASG TREASURY DEPARTMENT
According to the Department of Treasury’s report, submitted by ASG Treasurer Falema’o Pili, the general fund is forecasted to have a total deficit of $8,868,906. This is due mainly to the total revenues of $12 million below budget and total expenditures of only $416,889 less than budget.
“With all other funds in the Treasury cash pool added, ASG is looking at a total deficit of more than $9.8 million for fiscal year 2013,” Falema’o reported. “With the total fund balance of minus $7,727,686 at the end of fiscal year 2011 plus a total estimated deficit of $1.4 million in fiscal year 2012, ASG is forecasting a net deficit of more than $19 million at the end of FY 2013.”
As for the general fund revenue report, Falema’o says the general fund revenues are forecasted to be $12,257,846 less than budget, with corporate taxes more than $3.6 million below budget, and individual taxes more than $6.4 million less than budget. Excise taxes are more than $1.8 million below budget, while license and permits, fines and fees, and charges for services are below budget by more than $400,000.
Falema’o referred to the general fund expenditure report and noted that the general fund departments and special programs are expected to spend $416,889 less than budget.
Departments and programs with considerable overruns are the Fono ($1,549,036), Election Office ($646,500), ‘miscellaneous non-departmental ($2,122,068), payout to directors and contractors of the previous administration ($1,000,000), Economic Stimulus and Recovery Office ($78,040), Property Insurance ($365,550), Veteran’s Memorial ($161,565), Information Technology ($24,162), and EOB maintenance ($228,198).
Under the single audit, Falema’o said 16 major programs required audit testing in FY 2012, one more than the 15 programs in FY 2011. He added that timely completion of the financial statement audit is contingent upon the completion of trial balances for ASG’s fund accounts. As of last month, ASG had completed trial balances for about 25% of the fund accounts.
“The remainder can be completed once we complete our analysis of accounts receivable, and receive depreciation schedules for TOFR’s fixed assets,” Falema’o wrote. He wrote that their goal is to have the financial statement and single audit reports issued in final by April 30, 2013 and based on the current status of their audit and estimated completion of trial balances, “this goal will be achieved”.
Falema’o noted that the Immigration Bond account continues to be a material weakness that will prevent ASG from achieving a clean audit report.
As of last month, “the Governor’s Office of Internal Audit has yet to turn over to Treasury the financial files for the Immigration Bond account,” Falema’o said, adding that the office was directed to turn over these files in a letter from the former governor, dated Nov. 17, 2012.
OF INTEREST: on Jan. 29, 2013, Lt. Governor Peleti Mauga and Falema’o met with representatives from the Bank of Hawaii and ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank to discuss BOH’s scheduled departure from the territory on Mar. 15, 2013 and the transition of ASG’s business accounts to ANZ. Tentative decisions arising from that meeting include the retention of the general and grant checking accounts at BOH, as well as the payroll function, until such time that ANZ’s local operation is upgraded to handle these operations.
TERRITORIAL OFFICE OF FISCAL REFORM (TOFR)
In the TOFR quarterly performance report submitted by acting director Salu Tuigamala, it is noted that the agency, which is now under the umbrella of the Treasury Department, has an unobligated balance of over $102 million as of the end of the first quarter of FY 2013. This money is what’s left over from approved budgets for the following:
· Personnel services $851,000
· Materials and supplies $44,000
· Contractual services $103,562,000
· Travel $80,000
· All others $175,000
· Equipment $10,000
Of the total amount of $104,722,000 of its approved budget, only $1,955,307.50 was expended during the first quarter of FY 2013, leaving an unobligated balance of $102,766,692.50
(It should be noted that the large portion of contractual services is due to FEMA funded expenditures).
TOFR continues to play the primary role of processing fiscal activities for the American Samoa Petroleum Cooperative (ASPC) Office, Capital Improvements Projects and Operations and Maintenance Projects under the Department of Interior, the FAA grants under the Department of Port Administration for the Tafuna Airport, Public Assistance Grant Program (PA), and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) under the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“TOFR continues to hold the funding from the US Treasury for the SSBCI (State Small Business Collateral Initiative) that will assist our local business community in a separate account,” Tuigamala reports, adding that TOFR continues to close out Public Assistance projects for Hurricane Olaf of 2005.
She said the last four remaining projects are being reconciled before the close out and final state management costs are processed. Tuigamala explained that the Tsunami 2009 projects are being monitored and closed out as they are completed, with the largest project being the reconstruction of the ASPA Satala Power Plant. Generators purchased for use as temporary power are currently powering the east side of the territory.
Tuigamala said, “Past program impediments are currently being addressed through the addition of a Quality Control Division at TOFR. As part of their tasks, a staff member has been tasked to update all the Standard Operating Procedures for TOFR.”
In addition, quality control has also been tasked with checking e-file documents already scanned. “Communication will always need improvement,” Tuigamala concluded.