Good governance rests on accountability. Accountability implies inspection and inquiry of the use of the the general public’s resources by Government and its agencies. In Malta, this function is vested in the National Audit Office. The NAO has specific responsibilities as mandated by the Constitution, which the Office fulfills to the best of its abilities given the resource constraints.
Its work is very valuable and its published reports shed light on the efficiency and effectiveness with which our resources are being utilised to achieve the set policy objectives. However, I feel it is a real pity when such reports, dense with information that could be acted upon to improve the overall function of government ministries, agencies and entities which utilise central budgetary funds, are ‘analysed’ by members of the PAC who do not possess the knowledge required to extract the real value from such reports. Rather, the discussion oftentimes degenerates and becomes a criticism of the Office itself.
This is a very disappointing state of affairs. As such, my suggestion would be for members of the PAC to be selected in such a way as to ensure that a minimum number do hold some accounting / financial knowledge which they could apply to the analysis of the NAO’s findings, and to subsequently take meaningful actions for the better utilisation of our collective resources.